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

Update 3: Maui Fire Response

30 Oct 2023 1:29 PM | PBC Staff (Administrator)

As the weeks go on, the immediate crisis of the fires has settled into the ongoing struggle for displaced families to survive. The stories have shifted from families outrunning the fires to emergency births in hotel rooms, postpartum mamas leaving the hospital with no place to go, and families with small children struggling to meet their basic needs.

Maui has faded from the national spotlight, but we are still here. Pacific Birth Collective, along with our community partners and volunteers, are working every day to help Maui families as they navigate the aftermath of the disaster. As the thousands of people who lost homes and family face uncertainty and further displacement in the coming weeks, the need has become even more dire for many.

Here at PBC, we wanted to share with you, our community and donors, some of the things we’ve been doing to help with your support.

Honokowai Healer Hui

Impact: 40 to 60 families per day served with healing services and essential supplies

The powerful work of the practitioners at Healing Hui continues to serve displaced and affected families. Under Costco tents at a central beach park on the Westside, a dedicated and rotating group of healers offer services including but not limited to lomilomi, deep tissue massage, naturopathic trauma-informed healing which incorporates hands-on modalities, nervous system reset technique, chiropractic, laʻau lapaʻau, prenatal care, postpartum and breastfeeding support and acupuncture.

The Hui also functions as PBC's Westside distribution hub for those on the Westside needing supplies for their growing families, like diapers and wipes, Ergo carriers, organic formula, strollers, and so much more. The Hui also makes and offers natural and homeopathic medicines, vitamins, and supplements.

Those being served have experienced the loss of loved ones, loss of income and businesses, and loss of home and place. Trauma can cause emotional, psychological, and physical pain, and many of these folks are at risk for respiratory issues from the fire’s residual toxic ash. Many face potential homelessness, poverty, and immense trauma, and the stress can exacerbate physical ailments. Human touch, connection, and care are essential for healing.

Before the fires, the situation on the Westside was already dire, with no hospital and limited medical support. The nearest hospital is 30 miles away, and ambulances are scarce. This type of on-the-ground support is essential to keeping people safe and healthy. In addition to all of the healing services, in-person support for two births and four hands-on prenatal care consultations were provided to women who were affected by the fires just this past week.

The Hui has a consistent need for volunteer healing practitioners. If you'd like to get involved, please let us know.

Affected people receive healing services at Honokowai Beach Park on the Westside of Maui

Aloha ʻĀina Distribution Center

Impact: Over 1000 impacted families served, and over 300 displaced families served. 65,000 items distributed. 37 postpartum bags delivered to mothers.

Back in Haʻikū on the other side of the island, our distribution center continues to deliver custom care packages of diapers, wipes, postpartum supplies, and other essentials to families in need.

Right now, those who have been displaced are prioritized, but no family in need is being turned away, as many families have lost jobs, businesses, and income as a result of the disaster.

Families or advocates fill out this form to indicate their needs and goods are delivered straight to families. We are still partnering with Maui Rapid Response to meet the specific housing needs of pregnant moms, keiki, and newborns. If you need or can offer housing, please check out their new program, Maui Hale Match.

With PBC’s support, the labor and delivery team of nurses at our local hospital facilitated the delivery of 37 bags of diapers, vitamins, diaper cream, and all the essentials for displaced mothers who gave birth in the hospital.

The Donation Center is currently open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm at 810 Kokomo Road, Haiku HI 96708 Suite 170.

Volunteer Opportunity: We often need help with sorting donations, putting together orders that come in, delivering orders out to the community, organizing & taking inventory. To sign up for notifications and communicate with center leads, please join this WhatsApp group.

Wellness Wednesdays

Impact: 8-10 served weekly

Wellness Wednesdays have been running each Wednesday morning from 10 am - 12 pm in the Aloha ‘Āina Center, serving those in need with free services like massage therapy, acupuncture, and other healing practices. Families drop in for care and to relax with the community as needed. In recent weeks, it has become a safe space for pregnant and postpartum mothers to come together and connect.

One mother who lost her home in Lahaina shares: “With two parents and three young children, the stress is relentless. Bringing joy to our keiki is our priority. PBC has on numerous occasions since 8/8 provided us with unexpected relief and Joy. For volunteer staff, they function better than many city, county, state, and federal organizations. Wellness Wednesdays are essential to pausing the madness for a moment. Mahalo nui loa.”

Community Birth Project

IMPACT: 59 families served with birth and postpartum doula care, midwifery services, and lactation support. 13 displaced families served

It’s well documented that intense trauma and disaster can cause increased risk for perinatal outcomes. In the days and weeks immediately following the fires, midwives and doulas in our collective jumped into action, delivering babies and caring for pregnant mothers and newborns.

In response to their work, we developed our existing program, the Community Doula Project, to increase capacity and are happy to announce the Community Birth Project, which connects families who need birth, postpartum, and lactation support with professionals.

Many of these professionals, all of them women and small-business owners, have been volunteering their time to help displaced and affected families. With this program, we can support these women, all dedicated members of this community and advocates, to do the work to help the most vulnerable in this crisis.

In the works...

Mobile Unit:

We’ve been working diligently with our community partners and staff to get our mobile clinic up and running. The van recently took its maiden voyage to the Westside to deliver essential supplies to families. In the coming weeks and months, it will be used by practitioners to run prenatal and postpartum clinics and deliver essential supplies. We are so excited to be able to serve our most vulnerable with this important asset. Stay tuned for the results of this program.

Holiday Distribution:

We are also working with a partner organization Family2Family to serve displaced children with holiday gifts. We can’t wait to share the results of this joyful initiative with you.

Want to support our work? Please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

Mahalo for your ongoing support. The work we do could not be done without you.

Mālama pono,

PBC Board & Staff

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

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