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La’a Kea

Last August, when wildfires raged across the island of Maui, survivors like La’a Kea were left to put their lives back together. Where do you turn when everyone you know is facing the same devastation?

After the wildfires wreaked havoc on the people and homes in Maui, La’a Kea’s aunt turned to Together Rising. La’a Kea had been living with his parents and five siblings, but they were now displaced and he was forced to live apart from them. 

“Our precious nephew, La’a Kea, has had a difficult year,” his aunt told us. “He bravely shared his true self with his conservative family not too long ago — he’s gay — and they were (mostly) supportive. He is a native of Hawaii and lost his home, his car and his place of employment in the Lahaina fires.

“He is 20 years old and was working at an art gallery, which was also tragically lost in the fires. His family was able to raise some money for support, but with so many mouths to feed, and being out of jobs themselves, they do not have the funds to replace La’a Kea’s car. 

“Without a car, he is struggling to be able to find a new job (it’s hard to get around on Maui without a car) and he is separated and isolated from his family and friends (who are a BIG part of his support system on the island).”

But because of your support through our rapid response fundraising efforts, he and many others weren’t doing it alone. Together Rising was able to grant $384,377.07 to five boots-on-the-ground organizations responding to the immediate needs faced by the wildfire survivors. And then we were able to invest an additional $67,439.73 into directly supporting individuals like La’a Kea in Maui. Because of you, La’a Kea was able to purchase a vehicle. Because of you, so many more had a place to turn when they needed help. Thank you!