“Ohana” – it means Family. On August 8th – 11th, 2023, the island of Maui was forever ravaged by what is to become deadliest wildfires in the history of this nation. Thousands upon thousands of hard-working, proud, and strong families lost everything – lost their homes, their cars, their clothes, their memories, their money, and most importantly, their loved ones. The charming and important town of Lahaina has been completely wiped off the face of Maui. It now consists of ash floating in the sea and wind. * If you want to skip the story and go straight to pre-ordering your shirts, please scroll to the below - we truly thank you!
During this time, Kelli and I, too, were in Maui, right next Lahaina, and were surrounded by the fires with our two little ones. It was a horrific and awful scene, with the impending unknown looming and enveloping an uncertain future for days upon days. There was no power, no internet, no cell service (well, very, very little), with the sounds of helicopters and sirens all around, with the background noise of gas stations and propane stations blowing up – like scenes out of a really bad action movie. We did not know if the outside world even knew what was happening – we were completely cut off. Our two little children did not think we were going to make it home alive to see their two older sisters, who had to stay behind for cheer/dance as school was getting ready to begin. In their own words, they just wanted to hug their sisters “one.more.time.”. As the fires raged on, our only viable option at the time was to head into the water if and when it were to overtake our place.
That feeling for our children was awful.
Trauma has hit our kids. We will never forget that week we were in survival mode in West Maui.
Sadly, this trauma pales in comparison to the tragedy that unfolded and continues to unfold today. Friends of ours in Lahaina were jumping into moving cars to escape as the fires literally surrounded them on every side, consuming everything around them, as they got stuck trying to get out. The flames were so hot that the backside of their car melted shut as they desperately tried to make it out. By the grace of God, they made it out with just the clothes on their backs, along with so many others. They were the lucky ones.
That’s where you and I come in to help. Stuff the Sleigh’s “Maui Strong” Initiative and Mission is to help clothe Lahaina! In partnership with Bullpen Marketing, Stuff the Sleigh (www.thesleigh.org) has created our “Maui Strong” shirts, and 100% of all net proceeds will go toward clothing Lahaina.
Stuff the Sleigh and the Christina & Rod Batson Foundation have also teamed up with Under Armour to also provide Under Armour clothing and football/baseball equipment to clothe and equip the youth football and baseball teams of Lahaina. This is so they may have hope and provide a healthy avenue to channel these ever so fragile energies and emotions into some positive – youth sports.
Depending upon how much we raise from our pre-order t-shirt sales will dictate to what degree we’re able to clothe Lahaina! With your support, we can all truly change the world – or, at the very least, help make Maui Strong and provide a small sense of hope. That’s what we do at Stuff the Sleigh – we provide hope where there is no hope. We “Never.Stop.Believing”. For those grieving and have lost everything in area code 808, we love you and are here for you. Thank you for your help, love, and support.
Ohana and Maui Strong,
Stuff the Sleigh and every donor supporting this initiative!
These were our friends that literally got stuck in the fires. Their grandmother got burns on her arms, and the fires were so hot, the back of this car melted as they were trying to get out. They barely made it out by the grace of God.
These are shirt pre-orders so that we do not waste money on unused printed shirts. Cut off for pre-ordering is Friday, September 29th. Once we get the total amount of shirts ordered, we will print and then ship all shirts out to the addresses filled in the paid, pre-order form. Thank you for your support. Mahalo - Stuff the Sleigh