A sense of relief will come to Maui, hopefully soon.
Volunteers lined a boat called Lani Kai II, knowing yet another grueling day of getting supplies to those who needed them most stood ahead of them.
Efforts have been going on for nearly a week. First, survival items like clothes and water were needed in Lahaina. Now, more long-term things like gas and propane are making their way to the town that has lost so much.
Many locals have relied on boats to get much-needed supplies to those in Lahaina. There is gas, there is diesel, there are hundreds, if not thousands of water bottles, and there is propane to be able to cook much of the food that has been graciously given to those in need. In many cases, the people who have been loading and unloading the supplies are not just volunteers, they are people who need the supplies as much as anyone else.
On board the Lani Kai was Cindy Tatum, one of the several volunteers who felt the trip was monumental. She escaped the flames with her boyfriend.
"Everything is ash. Our house, my business, everything is gone," said Tatum.
It was the first time she was able to see the remains of her home since they had been extinguished. Her mind wasn't centered on what she couldn't change — instead it was focused on what she could.
"It's the only thing I'm focused on. Actually, I'm finding that out. I haven't slept.,I'm exhausted and I can't sleep at night because I'm thinking of ways to get up here and do something," said Tatum.
That time to do something came soon enough. First, the thousands of dollars worth of supplies were transferred from one boat to the next.
It was a time when Kerstin Muilenburg could reflect on what it means to live in Lahaina.
"I think it just proves that, like, how resourceful and incredible these islands are in the sense of community that we all have," said Muilenburg. "Of course it's a tragedy and we're all devastated by it, but the volunteers themselves are happy to be here and happy to be helping."
In Hawaii, ohana means family. And in the span of just four hours, it was clear a mix of friends and strangers were able to become that through common purpose.
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