San Diego family in Maui fundraises, donates supplies to relief effort

SAN DIEGO — A local San Diego family planned to have a reunion with friends and family in Maui this week, but are now trying to help with fire relief efforts any way they can.

“A steward on the plane, he was native Hawaiian, he was speaking in Hawaiian and he said some native prayers in Hawaiian and it was just very somber trip over there,” Kirsten Morton said.

It was a flight from San Diego to Maui unlike any other for Morton and her family. They’ve been traveling to Hawaii for most of their lives and the islands are home to not only family members, but also friends who are like family.

“One is a firefighter, he’s been busy working. His wife is a schoolteacher in Lahaina at a local middle school there and that middle school is completely gone,” Morton said.

When they heard wildfires had leveled Lahaina leaving so much loss and destruction, the Mortons knew their trip would be different this time. While her family friends fight the fires and also open their home to fire victims, Morton decided her family would also lend a hand.

“Where could we help? What can we do to help the victims? That’s really been on our minds,” Morton said.

Morton put out the call on social media for donations and the family took a trip to the Maui Costco, stocking up on some of the most needed supplies.

“About 99% of the shoppers were there just to buy supplies for the fire victims. We were buying batteries, diapers, wipes, flip-flops, just all the essentials. Water, ice, coolers,” Morton said. 

Their packed van then made its way to a well-organized drop off site where supplies could be dispersed as needed.

The Mortons are taking the lead from their close friends on the island about what the biggest needs are at each moment, but plan to keep contributing as much as possible.

“We’re just trying to do as much as we can whether it’s every couple days or every other day, we will do what we can and get supplies,” Morton said.

There are a number of large organizations providing aide, but the Mortons are also continuing to fundraise among friends and family in San Diego who want help with buying supplies. If you would like to get in touch with Morton, her Instagram handle is kmorton1065.

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