*** Fire Updates *** (Includes Maui Wildfire Disaster Relief Fund)

NOTE: More recent updates are available at hongwanjihawaii.com/blog/tag/maui-fires-2023/.
Maui Wildfire Disaster Relief Fund Drive letter - thumbnail image
For additional updates, including difficult news about Lahaina Hongwanji, please see the letter announcing the fund drive from Bishop Umitani, Dr. Warren Tamamoto, and Rev. Blayne Higa.

08/10/23: HHMH launches Maui Wildfire Disaster Relief Fund

In the spirit of compassionate action, Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii has established the Maui Wildfire Disaster Relief Fund. All donations to this fund will go to support Lahaina Hongwanji and relief efforts on Maui, including addressing the immediate and short-term needs of temple families displaced by the fires and supporting the greater community as it rebuilds. Here are three ways to give:

  1. Using this special-purpose PayPal button:
      Maui Wildfire Disaster Relief
  2. Through GoFundMe at the following link: https://gofund.me/ff77a520
  3. Check and cash donations can be sent directly to Hawaii Kyodan Headquarters. Please make check payable to HHMH and in the memo line designate “Maui Wildfire Disaster Relief” to ensure proper credit.
    Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii
    1727 Pali Highway
    Honolulu, HI 96813

08/10/23: A Message from Rev. Ai Hironaka

Dear Bishop Umitani, HQ Staff, and Dharma Friends,

Amidst these unprecedented circumstances, I sincerely extend my gratitude for the immense support you have been providing us, both emotionally and practically. I understand that numerous inquiries are coming from various quarters, and I realize that you must be dealing with a multitude of responsibilities behind the scenes. On behalf of my family and Lahaina Hongwanji Sangha, I extend our sincere thanks once again.

After the evacuation, especially the children were in shock initially, but now they have started to show occasional smiles, often making contact with friends through social media.

Our host at the evacuation site has been incredibly kind. Our family and his relative from Lahaina — a total of seven individuals — are under his care. While we haven’t been able to contact many temple members yet, the worries persist. A day is long, but I want to face forward and continue to persevere day by day.

Again, please accept my deepest appreciation for all that you have done for us.

Namo Amida Butsu

Rev. Ai Hironaka
Lahaina Hongwanji Mission

08/09/23: Email from Bishop Toshiyuki Umitani

Dear Ministers and Temple Presidents,

It is 7:20 am on Wednesday, August 9, 2023. First, I would like to inform you that both Rev. Ai Hironaka (Lahaina Hongwanji) and Rev. Kerry Kiyohara (Makawao Hongwanji) and their families are safe. Rev. Hironaka evacuated to Kahului yesterday. He tried to return to Lahaina yesterday but was unable to enter. He is trying to contact Lahaina Hongwanji members. Regarding the Lahaina Hongwanji Temple building, we are still gathering more information. However, Maui News is reporting that Lahaina Hongwanji is among the structures that caught fire.

Rev. Kiyohara told me that Makawao Hongwanji Temple itself is okay as of this morning. Kula and Olinda’s fires are upcountry, and some members had to evacuate.

We will provide you with more updates when they become available. Everyone, please ensure your safety first and then extend your support to others in any way you can.

Toshiyuki Umitani
Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii