Local lifeguards, small business collecting donations for victims of Maui wildfires

Nearly five thousand miles away from the wildfire-ravaged island of Maui, lifeguards and a local small business on the New Jersey shore are chipping in by collecting disaster relief donations.

Ronnie Ayres Sr., a lifeguard with Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol and former Maui resident, saw a little of himself in those who tragically lost everything in the wildfires that have claimed over 100 lives.

"It seems logical for us as a beach patrol and, really, as an island, to support the four lifeguards in immediate need who lost their homes on Maui," Ayres Sr. said. 

He and other members of the Wildwood Crest Beach Patrol have so far raised over $1,000 to help their fellow lifeguards recoup their losses. The small disaster relief effort has since gained support.


Help will be provided 'for as long as it takes' to recover from Maui wildfires, Biden says

President Joe Biden told survivors of Hawaii’s wildfires that the nation "grieves with you" and promised that the federal government will help Hawaii "for as long as it takes" to recover from the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century.

"I just couldn't imagine losing my house, my dogs, my job, it's very, very sad," said Michelle Shaffer, Owner of Aladdin Beach Brew and Ice Cream.

She is using her mobile ice cream and coffee carts to aid the lifeguard's relief efforts, and to provide support to Hawaiian chef Zack Soto who is serving 500 meals a day to people in Lahania. 

People can donate to either charity by scanning the corresponding QR code. Shaffer says all the donations will go directly to those in need.


Maui authorities say anywhere between 500 and 1,000 people remain unaccounted for two weeks after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century destroyed the community of Lahaina.

The American Red Cross has successfully completed roughly 2,400 requests seeking reunification or welfare updates, out of the more than 3,000 it has received, spokesperson Daniel Parra said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.