TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa-based non-profit is taking donations to aid in the recovery from the Maui wildfires.
Project Dynamo is a veteran-led organization that has a team in Maui to provide aid, according to a news release. The organization is working to assist in evacuation efforts.
“It’s truly heart-wrenching to watch the destruction unfolding in Hawaii,” Project Dynamo founder Bryan Stern said in the release.
Project Dynamo relies on donations for its operations, and anyone who would like to donate can do so on the organization’s website.
Those in need of evacuation assistance can visit the evacuation request section of the website.
The death toll in Maui rose to 89 on Saturday as officials confirmed more fatalities from a massive blaze that turned large swaths of a centuries-old town into a hellscape of ashen rubble.
Stern spoke with News Channel 8 last weekend at his home in Tampa before Monday’s Purple Heart ceremony at Old City Hall.
“I’ve tried to turn Dynamo off three times and I’ve given up,” Stern said. “We’re here to stay. Our demand has never been greater.”
By Thursday, Stern was on a plane headed to Hawaii.
“Our helicopter lands in about 45 minutes,” he said in a video recorded on the plane. “Doing the first rescue for operation Ohana Safe, which means safe families, on the island in Maui in the northwest corner, scary stuff.”
Project Dynamo teamed up with Air Maui Helicopter Tours to assist with evacuation efforts after the wildfires devastated the tourist town of Lahaina.
The fires damaged or destroyed more than 2,000 structures and historic landmarks, NBC News reported.
“Everything has been shut down,” long-time Maui resident Kami Irwin said. “We have no power. No water. We’re getting supplies to Maui Brewing Company, that’s our business.”
Stern and his team are working with Irwin to support relief efforts.
“We’re here local on Maui trying to bring in all the supplies possible to residents that are stranded with nothing,” Irwin said.
They are airlifting medicine, baby food, and other essential supplies to families dealing with the aftermath of what Hawaii Governor Josh Green called the largest natural disaster in the state’s history.
“This is our first fire that we’ve done,” Stern said. “But it’s really, really bad. The people need help and they need people to know they need help.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.