ORLANDO, Fla. – Federal officials say it will take years to rebuild parts of Maui where wildfires killed at least 115 people earlier this month and destroyed the town of Lahaina. It’s the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century.
Across the country in Orlando, local businesses and community leaders are raising money to help the victims with a silent auction of foodie experiences with Asian and Pacific Island flair.
Ricky Ly, who runs the Tasty Chomps Orlando website, started the Orlando United for Maui Strong fundraiser after seeing news reports of the devastation.
“There’s a lot of cultural influences too, and that commonality with being a place of tourism and hospitality,” Ly said. “It’s a special place, to be honest. It’s so tragic to see everything going on.”
Ly and co-organizers assembled more than dining, travel and entertainment items for the silent auction. Foodie experiences include popular Asian restaurants like Domu, Viet-Nomz, Morimoto Asia and Kaya, along with an omakase dinner for two at the Michelin-starred Soseki, and a master mixology experience at Maxine’s on Shine. There are also gift cards to Sweet and Salty Island Grindz, Hanalei Shave Ice, Bento, Sampaguita Ice Cream and Isan Zaap Thai Cafe.
There are also experiences like a private brewery tour at Gatlin Hall Brewing, lunches with Ricky Ly, or Orlando Sentinel food writer Amy Drew Thompson, or UCF football player Lokahi Pauole, a Hawaiian native. The offensive lineman also contributed a football signed by the entire UCF team.
Universal’s Loews Resorts also donated a 2-night stay at Royal Pacific Resort with a Wantilan Luau Experience for two.
Ly says they have raised $4,000 so far in the silent auction, and all the money is going to the Maui Strong fund, which is run by Hawaii Community Foundation. The group is working to get money quickly to nonprofits and other community groups based on their needs.
Want to give but can’t take part in the silent auction? Ly has also set up a GoFundMe, which has raised $325 so far for Maui. The money will also go to the Maui Strong Fund. You can donate to the GoFundMe HERE.
The bidding for the silent auction ends Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. eastern. You can see all the items and bid HERE.
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