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How Seattle Restaurants Are Helping People Impacted by the Maui Fires

Local establishments are raising tens of thousands of dollars to aid recovery efforts on the island

A row of spam musubi.
Musubi sold by Marination to benefit Maui
Marination

Washington State is home to one of the largest populations of Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the country, only behind California and Hawai’i itself, and much of that population is clustered in the Seattle area. So the brutal wildfires that swept through Maui this past week struck particularly close to home for many locals, including the owners of popular restaurant group Marination. Co-owner Kamala Saxton is Native Hawaiian, and has many close friends on Maui, as does the restaurant’s marketing manager, John Beck. Beck says that the Marination crew “knew we had to do something” to help the community on the island, where the death toll has climbed to more than 100 people and many irreplaceable cultural landmarks have been destroyed.

This past weekend, Marination raised just over $30,000 via its Musubi for Maui fundraiser, which sold over 3,000 musubi (grilled spam and rice held together by a ribbon of nori) and garnered a $15,000 donation match from a local family originally from the island.

Beck says Marination is working to roll out a happy hour fundraiser, which will provide proceeds to different organizations leading recovery efforts on the island, including the Maui Humane Society, Maui AIDS Foundation, and the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Beck says the response from the community has been overwhelming. “There might be a lot of craziness in the world, but we take care of each other,” he says.

Other Seattle restaurants and businesses with Maui ties have also stepped up to the plate. Pure Food Fish Market owner Carlee Amon-Hollenbeck spearheaded an effort to collect more than 100,000 pounds of donated supplies like tents and diapers last weekend. Seattle Poi Company and Pi’ikeas Kitchen ran a similar fundraiser out of the parking lot of Cakes of Paradise Bakery. All around the city, shows of solidarity with Maui have been popping up, and many are still ongoing. Here are a few other efforts happening around Seattle:

Kauai Family Restaurant

This Georgetown establishment has fed the neighborhood lunch crowd and a devoted contingent of Hawaiian transplants since the early ’90s. On Sunday, August 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the restaurant will host a brunch fundraiser for those impacted by the fires. Those impacted include owner Peter Buza’s brother and sister-in-law who told KUOW that they “lost everything” to the disaster. In addition to donating proceeds from the brunch menu, which includes staples like spam fried rice and kalua pork, Kauai Family is also seeking donations in the form of prepaid gift cards, hygiene products, baby wipes, diapers, and formula.

Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max

The popular poke chainlet raised $4,700 last weekend via a series of special events, and though the official fundraiser has concluded, the restaurant is still accepting donations via its online ordering site, writing in an Instagram post that “we have a long road ahead.” Poke to the Max also says to keep an eye out for future Maui fundraising events.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Known for its spin on the iconic Hawaiian plate lunch, this chain has several locations in the Seattle area, including Burien and SeaTac. L&L, which lost its Lāhainā location to the fires, is donating a dollar for every online order made through its website or official app, and is matching donations to the American Red Cross of Hawaii up to $10,000 through August 31.

Pagliacci Pizza

Michelle Galvin, one of the venerable local pizza chain’s co-owners, was born on Maui and has deep family ties to the island. In a press release, the company said it was offering $25,000 in matching funds for a GoFundMe campaign to benefit Maui United Way (a link can be found here). Pagliacci is also donating all profits from Hawaiian pizza sales from August 18 to 31 to the Maui Food Bank.

“The devastation caused by the wildfire is not just to a dream destination but to my homeland, my heart,” Galvin said in the release. “Many of my cousins’ friends are now without a home, job, or both. The road to recovery for Maui, especially its west side, will be long and arduous. Please help us aid those impacted by the fires.”

This article has been updated to include more restaurants.

Kauai Family Restaurant

6324 6th Avenue South, , WA 98108 (206) 762-3469 Visit Website

Sam Choy's Poke to the Max

5300 Rainier Avenue South, , WA 98118 (206) 432-9026 Visit Website

Marination

2000 6th Avenue, , WA 98121 (206) 327-9860 Visit Website