Dozens of coffee businesses have been severely affected or destroyed by the wildfires that ripped through western Maui, Hawaii, last week, leveling the coastal town of Lahaina and killing at least 96 people.
State officials said that cellular service from some but not all providers has been restored as of today, while fire containment is still underway in Upcountry/Kula region. Many people in and around Lahaina are still lacking power or access to clean water, according to state and Maui County reports.
While the extent of the damage has yet to be determined, numerous individuals and organizations have put together fundraising initiatives to provide emergency services to people and businesses affected, including a number of coffee businesses.
The Maui Coffee Association is promoting three verified donation funds. While non-coffee-specific, each of the funds is designed to provide immediate aid to people in need in Maui. Online donations are being promoted through Maui Rapid Response, a consortium of nonprofits.
The association, which has been actively promoting Maui-grown and roasted coffee since 2005, also shared an update on one of its member companies, MauiGrown Coffee, based in Lahaina.
“As many of you may have heard our community suffered a crushing blow from wildfires,” the association wrote. “MauiGrown Coffee lost their store, part of their mill, and most of their warehoused green coffee.”
DCN’s efforts to contact MauiGrown were not successful.
According to the Maui Coffee Association’s public post and state fire containment reports, many of Maui’s “upcountry” coffee farms have thus far been spared from the wildfires, although the situation is still developing.
Another Lahaina-based business, Maui Coffee Company, shared an update yesterday urging customers to exercise patience as the island of Maui works to recover.
“Maui Coffee and our family are okay,” the company wrote on Instagram. “Lahaina is destroyed and it’s heartbreaking. We appreciate all the messages and emails but we have no service and cannot respond.”
Meanwhile, some coffee retail businesses formerly operating in Lahaina have been completely destroyed. One of those is Drift Coffee, which DCN profiled last year.
“As you all have seen our beautiful town of Lahaina burned to the ground including our well known building where we’ve served the community with love and coffee for many years,” the company wrote on Instagram. “This devastation has left thousands of people displaced without homes and with just the clothes on their back.”
Drift Coffee is one of several coffee businesses being supported by a Gofundme campaign led by the owner of a beverage stand called Albas Cuban Coladas. According to the campaign, funds will go towards affected businesses such as Bad Ass Coffee, Belle Surf Cafe, Cafe Cafe Maui, Vigilatte Coffee, Drift Coffee, Keiki Bowls Cafe and Maui Island Coffee. The owners of Vigilatte Coffee have set up their own Gofundme to help rebuild their businesses and to help neighboring businesses, according to the campaign.
DCN will continue to update this story with relevant information as it comes in. Contact us here.