The devastating wildfires that swept through Maui, Hawaii, in August 2023 were the deadliest in U.S. history, leaving over 97 lives lost, thousands displaced, and widespread damage. Among those hit hardest were individuals experiencing homelessness, whose already challenging circumstances were further compounded by the loss of shelter, belongings, and access to basic necessities.
Recognizing the urgent need for healthcare access, Heart to Heart International partnered with Americares to donate a portable container medical clinic to Project Vision Hawai’i, a local nonprofit organization that provides healthcare to people experiencing homelessness.
Beyond Medical Care
The clinic, staffed by dedicated volunteer nurses and practitioners, offers comprehensive services for survivors of the fires, patients experiencing homelessness, children from low-income families, immigrants, and individuals with disabilities that live near the clinic site in Kahului. These services include:
- Wound care: Addressing injuries sustained during the fires and ensuring proper healing.
- Primary care: Providing essential medical services for everyday health needs.
- Mental health support: Helping individuals cope with the trauma and emotional toll of the disaster.
- Traditional Hawaiian healing practices: Integrating cultural practices into the healing process.
- Complementary therapies: Offering yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage for stress relief and well-being.
Stories of Hope
The clinic has already made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals, including a burn victim from the fires who has been going to the clinic daily for care. He has recently begun walking on his own again, and now he is also working with the therapy team to address the trauma from the fire.
The medical team at Project Vision Hawai’i is glad to have the clinic to provide care for their patients: “One patient describes how he woke up to the smoke and heat and noise, and immediately started helping others to wake up and get to safety. He is a hero and deserves the best care we can give him. Thank you for helping us to care for individuals like him.”
The Road Ahead
This collaboration and project is one example of how Heart to Heart International is committed to helping communities build back stronger after disasters. HHI has also shipped medicines, supplies and hygiene kits to support Project Vision Hawai’i and other partners working in the area.