The massive wildfires that have hit Maui are desperately tragic. The number of confirmed fatalities continues to rise and as of this morning stood at 93 -- the largest loss of life from any fire in the United States in over a century.
Authorities are having great difficulty even identifying those who have perished due to the heat and magnitude of the flames. Also, as many as 1,500 are still unaccounted for, so the death toll is expected to continue to rise.
It is now estimated that 2,500 homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed. Thousands have lost everything. They urgently need help. But these resilient folks haven't lost hope.
+ + Brad's story of survival...
Our team met Brad, a 40-year resident of Lahaina and owner of a local construction company as he surveyed the charred remains of his home. Brad has built dozens of homes on the island, including one of the churches that is providing a base of operations for Mercy Chefs.
Brad shared with us how he narrowly escaped the wildfire as it reached his community. In fact, his truck caught fire on four separate occasions as he fled to safety. Despite all of this, Brad says “it’s just stuff" and is thankful his family survived. Now, Brad is helping Mercy Chefs by allowing us to use the very truck that caught fire to transport meals to those in need.
+ + Need help today...
As I write, our team is working from two locations that span the island. On the east side of the island, we are feeding those who have fled to shelters. Our chefs are also teaching food safety to those who are helping provide meals.
Yesterday on the west side of the island we were able to cook meals out of a kitchen near Lahina which is the center of the devastation. The people here are in shock. There is so much loss. Some are sleeping in makeshift shelters or even under trees. The meals you are helping to provide are absolutely critical.
With our teams serving meals on both sides of the island, I'm asking you to consider making your best possible gift to help Mercy Chefs bring relief to those whose lives have been devastated by these wildfires. Can I count on you?
I'm so grateful for your partnership with Mercy Chefs. Friends like you make it possible for our teams to go to the very front lines of disaster and provide chef-prepared hot meals that make a difference for those who have suffered so much.
Because of you, our team is here, handing hot meals to those who barely lived through one of the worst wildfire disasters we've ever seen.
I'll be sharing more soon.
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