Oprah Winfrey Hands Out Supplies at Maui Shelter Amid Hawaii Wildfires

Oprah Winfrey, a longtime part-time resident of Hawaii, is helping displaced residents affected by the wildfires in Maui, where she owns several properties.

By Corinne Heller Aug 11, 2023 7:57 PMTags
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For Oprah Winfrey, the deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui hit close to home.

So the media mogul, who owns multiple properties on the island, rushed to volunteer at evacuation shelters set up to help displaced residents.

Oprah helped distribute supplies at the War Memorial Stadium in the island's town of Wailuku Aug. 10. When asked how it felt to be there, she told the BBC, "It's a little overwhelming, you know, but I'm really so pleased to have so many people, you know, supporting and you know, people are just bringing what they can and doing what they can."

In addition to helping collect donations, she went out to find crucial items displaced residents currently need.

"I came earlier just to see what people needed and then went shopping," Oprah continued. "Because often, you know, you make donations of clothes or whatever, and it's not really what people need. So I actually went to Walmart and Costco and got pillows, shampoo, diapers, sheets, pillowcases."

Oprah Through the Years

Local nonprofit Kāko'o Haleakalā shared a video of Oprah distributing supplies and praised the OWN founder for supporting Maui residents during this tragic time.

"Mahalo Nui @oprah for following through!" the organization wrote on Instagram alongside a video of Oprah at the distribution center. "She returned with cots, pillows, and toiletries for the people in the shelter at in Wailuku. She even spent some time with the people there. It was very much appreciated."

Noting that Oprah "has been to several local shelters to ask first-hand what was most needed," her rep told CNN that this is only the start of her support for the community, adding that she'll be providing more aid "as it becomes clear which funds can be the most helpful for the short-term and long-term rebuilding."

The wildfires, Hawaii's worst natural disaster of all time, began on Aug. 8. More than 55 people have been killed and thousands have been left homeless from the devastation, which has affected three areas of Maui, including the historic resort town of Lahaina, which has been almost totally destroyed.

Oprah has been a part-time Maui resident for more than 15 years and had purchased new property in Maui earlier this year. According to KITV4, she bought 870 acres of land in the community of Kula in the central part of the island for over $6.5 million.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for CinemaCon

Many celebrities have used their social media platforms to help raise funds and awareness for the disaster victims. "We are devastated and heartbroken for our friends and 'ohana on Maui who been impacted by the recent wildfires," Honolulu native Jason Momoa wrote on Instagram Aug. 9. "Many other places on Maui were also affected. We continue to send pule (prayers) to this incredible community."

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