It’s been 72 hours since the Lāhainā fires. The stories have flooded in: Families who fled with no warning through pitch-black smoke with only their children, parents who jumped into the ocean with kids in their arms to escape the flames, and a single mom who spent two nights stranded, sleeping in her car with her baby with no supplies.
In those hours, the Maui community mobilized in force. There have been countless hands, seen and unseen, sharing skills, items, food, hugs, houses, boats, airplanes, and trucks.
Here at Pacific Birth Collective, we’ve mobilized for the families. We’ve witnessed a constant stream of donations from mothers towing children, giving all the things they know a mom who has lost it all will need. We’ve had dozens of volunteers show up, sharing their skills, time, and hearts, sorting clothes, packing trucks full of diapers, wipes, and baby clothes, and delivering breast pumps and postpartum supplies to stranded mothers and families.
Since the disaster, PBC has gathered and distributed approximately thousands of diapers and wipes, dozens of pounds of formula, and hundreds of bags of clothing, over 100 boxes of period products directly into the hands of those who need it most. We’ve housed families with newborns. Our board members and staff have been receiving baby formula at the airport after dark, staying up nights to write grants, and delivering diapers and other essentials to Lahaina via boat. We are humbled in deep gratitude for this outpouring of support to those who need it most right now.
At this moment, the need is urgent. Mamas and babies need our help. And when the smoke clears, they will still need our help.
What can I do to help?
Please consider donating. We are endlessly grateful for the supplies, but right now, as we send the supplies out to those in need, funding is our number-one priority.
Funding will go directly into the hands of impacted mothers, children, and families. If you know impacted families, please help them fill out this form: Direct support for families
If you want to volunteer, please fill out this form.
If you are an experienced birth worker or provider on Maui that can volunteer services: fill out this form.
We also have the opportunity to purchase a mobile clinic, which could be staffed by local professionals and take prenatal and postpartum care into Lahaina and later into our rural communities where it is acutely needed.
We will still need volunteers over the coming weeks and months. Please check our Instagram, which will be updated daily with specific needs.
Tax-deductible donations can be made here on our website.
Mahalo for your consideration.
For those of you who are new to our organization, welcome and mahalo for your support. You can read our origin story here.
We opened our center at the Aloha ‘Āina Center in Hāʻiku just a few short weeks ago. We never imagined that this would be our grand opening, but it’s fitting. Pacific Birth Collective was founded as a grassroots, unpaid labor of love to respond to a deep need in our community, and with this tragedy, we are growing according to that need. And, just as before, we need your help to get there.
This is just the very beginning of a sprint that will turn into a marathon, which will then turn into simply our everyday lives, and we will still be here. The need will still be here. Even before the fires, Lāhainā did not have a hospital, just as our rural communities like Hāna and Kahakuloa are without prenatal, birth, or postpartum care options.
5 years ago, PBC hosted Robin Lim of the Bumi Sehat birth center in Indonesia to teach a workshop called Birth in the Era of Climate Change. Robin was trained in rescue response to the 2004 Indonesian earthquake and tsunami. We learned what it would take to respond to this crisis, alongside Jacquelyn Ingram of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies on Oahu, who is here on Maui mobilizing her programs for the good of the community. Our mentors have prepared us for what was to come and to meet this moment.
To the families displaced and dispossessed: We see you, and we will do everything we can to help you. To the women who have logged hundreds of hours in our center, we see you. To the uncles, brothers, and fathers who have shown up for the most vulnerable, your efforts are also seen. To the grandmas who are at home watching kids so that others can help, you are the foundation. And to the mamas at home with kids, aching to do more to help, aching for the mothers who lost everything – we see you, too. Know that the job you are doing is essential even as it is unseen. You are raising the next generation of compassionate humans that will join Maui’s community, humans that will also know how to show up to help their community and meet their kuleana.
We see you all, and we are proud and humbled to stand next to you in community. Mahalo nui,