Orcas helps out islanders thousands of miles away

It’s been more than three weeks since the catastrophic wildfires in Lahaina on Maui.

The confirmed death count is 115 and an unknown number of residents are missing, making it the deadliest wildfire in the United States in more than a century.

“I was super impacted and affected when it happened. I spent a lot of time living in Hawaii and on Maui,” said Brittany Grumm, owner of Olga’s store in Eastsound. “The amount of the devastation and loss and history — it’s a long road to recovery. It’s just so sad. It’s horrific what happened there.”

After feeling deep grief for several days, Grumm realized she could take action. She called Hilary Canty, executive director of the Orcas Island Community Foundation about collaborating on a fundraising effort called “Island to Island.” As of press time, they had raised nearly $14,000 from business donations; direct gifts and a silent auction. The money will go to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong).

Grumm asked if her fellow store owners in Eastsound Square would be interested in donating a portion of their sales during the Aug. 25 Night Market to relief efforts in Maui. Chamber Executive Director Carey Eskridge also came on board to help organize the event, which was attended by more than 50 islanders and visitors. Attendees enjoyed live music, food, shopping and a silent auction. The food bank and OICF also had a booth for accepting money.

“We set up direct donations so people didn’t feel pressured to buy something,” Grumm explained.

Local businesses that either donated a portion of sales or gave auction items were Sallie Bell Designs, Orcas Island Food Bank, Printship NW, Westside Kitchen, Clever Cow, Optimism and Co.- Felt + Ceramics, Doe Bay Wine, Olga’s, Deer Harbor Charters, Beach Haven, Landmark Inn, Rainshadow Solar, Doe Bay Wine Company, Orcas Video, Forest Ceramics, Julie McNeil, Kim Delgarno, Orcas Island Rental Car, SUP Orcas, Salish Sea Skincare, Manifest Nails, Ula Botanics, Mijitas and Sequel Consignment.

“It just all came together. It was a great evening of community,” Grumm said.