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Education, support and advocacy for birth and wellness choices across Hawai'i

Update 2: PBC Maui Fire Response Update

21 Aug 2023 11:39 AM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

Less than two weeks ago, Maui woke up to the horrific news that our beloved Lāhainā town, birthplace of kings and queens and hometown to many deeply-rooted local families, had burned to the ground. Fueled by shock, we, alongside our community, jumped into action to support survivors. Over a week later, the around-the-clock efforts by our board, staff, and volunteers have resulted in a coordinated and dedicated effort fueled by grief, love, and our knowledge of the immense need of the mamas and babies displaced by the Westside and Kula fires.

During the initial crisis, PBC was on the ground from day one. In the immediate aftermath, we delivered essential supplies to stranded families via boat and jet ski who were cut off from all communication, camping at the beach in their cars.

We continue our daily boots-on-the-ground work with several of our team stationed on the westside to meet the needs of pregnant and postpartum mothers. Our board member Ki’i Kahoohanohano has mobilized a Healing Hui, activating a network of traditional healers to begin to heal the deep trauma experienced by survivors. 

At our donation and distribution center at the Aloha ʻĀina Center on the other side of the island in Haiku, dozens of volunteers are receiving and sorting donations, filling orders from families, and delivering packages of goods to families. Every parent knows that “diapers,” “formula,” and every other baby need are not one-size fits all. Babies have sensitivities, allergies, and are different sizes, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers have specific needs of their own. With this method, we are able to get families exactly what they need. Families or advocates fill out this form  to indicate their needs, from strollers to diaper cream, and volunteers deliver goods right to families. We've served almost 200 families with this direct support. 

We’ve partnered with multiple organizations, such as Maui Rapid Response, to meet the specific housing needs of pregnant moms, keiki, and newborns.  Weʻve also received much-needed supplies from amazing organizations like Baby2Baby and the Hawaii Diaper Bank as well as from numerous local and national businesses. We are so grateful.


Through our hundred-strong network of birth providers on our directory, we are also getting these families the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support they need. From doulas to midwifery care to trauma-informed bodywork, our birth workers are going directly to families to offer ongoing support. 

We have housed three families due to give birth in the next couple of weeks, including a mother with three children who was in labor with no place to go but the shelters when she got out of the hospital. We have also been blessed by our partnership with the Aloha ʻĀina Center in Haʻikū. We are now operating two rooms in the center, one for our distribution efforts and another to do the healing work that mamas and babies need. We will start this weekend with a Hāpai Circle and a MotherBaby Circle on Saturday, August 27.

Additionally, we are so grateful to have received an emergency grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation  to purchase a mobile care van that will hit the ground running as early as next week. This van will be staffed with local professionals and birth workers who will provide care in the field. We’ve have pending grants from other community partners that will fuel this important work. 


Amongst all this work, PBC partnered with Hungry Heroes Hawai‘i and Privateer to provide Starlink wifi access to affected families. Without power or cell services for days, many on the westside were left with no way to contact family or begin connecting themselves to essential services. We built solar power remote systems and employed them at resource centers, food distribution sites, community hubs, and medical hubs with an emphasis on local and Native Hawaiian Communities. 15 have been installed so far with plans to install a dozen more. 


Amidst this crisis response, we have received an outpouring of support from local and national businesses as well as funding through grants and direct donations. We are endlessly grateful for the much-needed support. We've received many small donations that represent the hearts and care of our community. We understand the deep kuleana that we have to be great stewards of this energy that is coming toward us. With that in mind, we are in the process of updating our website so that we can more efficiently communicate the impact that this funding is having right now, and the impact that it will continue to have in the weeks, months, and years ahead. We commit to full transparency during this process. We acknowledge that local and indigenous people experience disparities at increased levels across all aspects of society, especially in times of crisis, and with this in mind, we commit to involving indigenous voices in every decision. We will be listening deeply to the needs of our community so that we can meet their needs with efficiency and care.

PBC is a truly grassroots organization that was started with a lot of heart and very little funding. It has always been driven by the hearts and love of the Maui women whose life’s work it is to meet the needs of other mamas during the special and incredibly vulnerable time of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Right now, we are being named among powerful organizations such as the Maui Food Bank and the Hawaii Community Foundation. We are humbled before this support and we are determined to meet the challenge.  There is much work to do, now and in the years and decades to come, and we will be here through it all. 

As  we continue to grieve for the loved ones lost, homes destroyed, and lives changed forever, we’re committed to supporting not only the immediate relief efforts but strategizing for long-term resiliency. 

Mahalo nui, 

PBC Board & Staff 

Education, Support, and Advocacy for Birth and Wellness Choices Across Hawai'i

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