Kaanapali, HAWAII (August 23, 2023) – In response to the devastating wildfires that recently impacted West Maui, the Hawaii Rotary District 5000 Foundation has allocated $50,000 towards relief efforts aimed at providing immediate assistance to affected residents in the form of gas cards from Maui Oil. The distribution of gas cards started on Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali, in conjunction with Maui United Way. Members of the Maui Rotary Clubs will continue distributing gas cards to individuals impacted by the fires.


Rotarian Leah Harbottle, Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise at the Hyatt Regency with Maui United Way distributing gas cards to residents impacted by the Maui wildfires. 


Quick Action and Long-Term Planning

An emergency executive session was held by the Rotary District 5000 Foundation immediately after the fires affected the Lahaina and Upcountry areas. At this session, the Maui Fires Relief Fund was formally established by Foundation President David Hamil and endorsed by Hawaii Rotary District Governor Mark Merriam. The Foundation's board approved the first relief efforts with the distribution of gas cards to victims. "As Rotarians, we are people of action and we will see the money raised go directly to those in need. The immediate release of $50,000 is a way to ensure the people of Maui are getting the resources they need," said Hamil. 

Gas Card Distribution

The initial distribution of 250 individual $100 gas cards will be done in conjunction with Maui United Way at the Hyatt Regency, where other organizations like FEMA and the SBA are collecting information from impacted residents. Gas cards have been received, processed, and are ready for distribution. The second phase will be distributed based on the success of the first round.

Rotary Participation

Members of Rotary joined Maui United Way at the Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali to distribute gas cards. Among the volunteers was Leah Harbottle, a member of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise, a Kaanapali resident, and a Maui real estate agent. "We sat with Maui United Way as victims of the fires filled out applications with the different organizations. I sat with people, listening to their stories of escape. I was able to put something in their hands, something that was tangible. And they were surprised. The day was full of gratitude and hugs."

Members of the Maui Rotary Clubs will continue to distribute cards with Maui United Way until all cards have been distributed.

Special Features of Gas Cards

  • They can be used at Maui Oil Company
  • They are reloadable.
  • They are transferable, allowing families to give them to those with vehicles willing to make trips in and out of Lahaina.

Supporting Local Business

All gas cards are sourced from Maui Oil, a locally owned business located in Kahului. There are no administrative costs, ensuring 100% of the funds go directly to recipients. The money will ultimately circulate back through the local Maui economy.

Advisory Committee for Hawaii Rotary District 5000 Foundation

The Foundation has formed an advisory committee composed primarily of Rotarians from Maui to prioritize, review, and recommend the best course of action for distributing funds raised through the Hawaii Rotary District 5000 Foundation. Donations to the fund were received from all around the world, including from Rotary International President Gordon McInally, who wrote on his Facebook page, "Our thoughts are with those in Hawaii affected by the terrible wildfires which have caused such a tragic loss of lives. My thanks to the members of Rotary in District 5000 who are working so tirelessly to provide relief to those affected. Please consider joining me in making a donation to allow them to continue their work."
To make a donation to the Maui Fires Relief Fund or learn about the Hawaii Rotary District 5000 Foundation, website at RotaryD5000.org/MauiRelief