August 11, 3 days after hurricane force winds fueled fires that tore through the ancient, spiritual, cultural, royal and historical town of Lahaina, Maui, Cajun Navy Ground Force was boots on the ground providing swift response in helping distribute critical supplies and aid to victims of this horrific event. 2,170 acres burned, destroying over 2,700 structures and claiming hundreds of lives. FEMA estimates that the recovery will cost an estimated $6 billion and take years to recover.
CN Ground Force collaborated with numerous local community organizations to help establish their distribution sites and scale up their efforts using our SAFE Camp model, and Bigs to Bags method:
- The number of cars serviced increased from 300 in the first two days before our arrival, to over 1,200 the very next day. We instructed how to track volunteers and volunteer hours for FEMA reimbursements. The distribution efforts continue to date.
- CNGF provided volunteers, food, cooking supplies, shade structures and experienced disaster feeding experts to support a local business owner in his efforts to provide hot meals to the community while in the carline – 1000+meals per day were served
- We supplied our organization’s StarLink for internet service at Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center and introduced ITDRC to establish broad internet coverage at the POD cook tent for victims as they sat in car wait lines for supplies – internet services were down near the impact zone. Survivors were able to connect for the first time in days while at SAFE Camp
- CNGF medical team performed 16 wellness checks in addition to mental health, and emotional support
- Our nurses established a wellness tent at a distribution site where countless minor, non emergency services were provided
- Meals and critical supplies were delivered daily to 60 elderly and shut in survivors who could not leave the impact zone
- We provided transportation to survivors to various FEMA and HUD centers and assisted them with registrations to have needs met
2,688 volunteer hours logged = $79,027 dollars ($29.40 per hour) of service no cost to the community
Our outreach did not stop there. We provided consulting to Maui State Representative Ellie Cochran, Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke, and local Nonprofit Na Mea Ike Ia – Hawaiian Royal Guard, on disaster recovery, navigating the emergency management process, and how to access resources available to them. We collaborated with Na Mea Ika Ia, to establish Uplift Lahaina, a healing and resource/service center.
A major highlight in this deployment was utilizing our partnership with AirBnB Foundation. We were awarded 30 AirBnb’s which gave hundreds of victims soft beds, warm showers, and a safe place for their families at a time where they were dealing with the most horrific and tragic loss. Our remote team, and team on the ground worked around the clock to help facilitate each and every family in getting immediate shelter. We are currently working with AirBnB Foundation to extend these stays.
No request for us is ever too small. We find countless creative ways to help a community in crisis. Bringing hope to suffering families, overwhelmed business owners, or hosting a birthday party for 5 year old survivor, CN Ground Force volunteers connect deeply with the communities we serve and stay true to our 3 tenants: