Working in conjunction with Merriman’s Hawaii Restaurants and Community Relief Maui, the private jet operator gathered blankets, water, diapers, shampoo and other supplies from the relief organization’s Los Angeles-area warehouse, along with direct donations from Clay Lacy.
“We’re sending 1,000 to-go meal containers as part of the shipment, and that’s something you wouldn’t necessarily think of,” said Manuel Hernandez, Clay Lacy’s flight support manager. “Merriman’s is providing meals to victims of the wildfire, but they need more containers to put the food in.”
Wildfire wreckage is shown Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. Hawaii emergency management records show no indication that warning sirens sounded before people ran for their lives from wildfires on Maui that wiped out a historic town. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The Embraer Legacy 600 jet departed at noon from Van Nuys Airport and was scheduled to arrive in Maui at about 5 p.m. Pacific time.
“We asked what they needed, they told us and we just said, ‘Let’s do it,’ ” Hernandez said. “Our biggest concern was getting the items to Maui as quickly and safely as possible.”
Workers at Clay Lacy Aviation load emergency supplies aboard a private jet on Tuesday for shipment to wildfire victims on the island of Maui. (Photo courtesy of Clay Lacy Aviation)
Hawaii officials worked throughout the day Tuesday to identify the 99 people confirmed killed in the wildfire that ravaged the island community and laid waste to the historic town of Lahaina.
The Hawaii National Guard has activated about 258 Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel to help respond to the fires. The cause of the blaze was under investigation, and authorities have warned that toxic byproducts may remain in drinking water after the flames.
A week after a blaze tore through Lahaina, many who survived have started moving into hundreds of hotel rooms set aside for displaced locals while donations of food, ice, water and other essentials have poured in.
“We’re so grateful to the generosity of our local community, the country and the world,” said Lisa Grove, a spokeswoman for Maui United Way. “People have come together like we’ve never seen.”
Grove said the devastation has left many in dire shape.
“We’re getting grants for a variety of things to help,” she said. “One is for transportation, so people can get to chemotherapy treatments or regular doctor visits, and another grant will help people replace their IDs so they can get back in the system and qualify for various programs.”
Maui United Way has secured additional grants for food, shelter and crisis counseling, as well as fresh local produce for weekly distribution to partners serving homeless and displaced island residents.
Van Nuys Airport Manager Paul Herrera said Clay Lacy’s relief effort speaks to the willingness of businesses to help in times of disaster.
“We take great pride in the relationships we have with our tenants,” he said. “In times like this they’re willing to step up and provide humanitarian relief. We also saw this during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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