Children’s Disaster Services deploys volunteers to Hawaii after wildfires

By Carolyn Neher

The Church of the Brethren’s Children’s Disaster services (CDS) has deployed volunteers to Hawaii in partnership with the Red Cross. The volunteers traveled on Aug. 14-15. They have set up a Children’s Disaster Services Center in a Family Assistance Center in Lahaina, on the island of Maui. The volunteers are scheduled to serve through Sept. 4.

The island of Maui was devastated by wildfires starting Tuesday, Aug. 8. Three major wildfires on Maui were fueled by dry conditions, a buildup of fuel, and 60 mile per hour gusts of wind. As of this week, the death toll has risen above 110. Thousands of structures, mostly homes, were destroyed.

The fire that devastated the city of Lahaina was the deadliest fire in the United States in more than 100 years. The Red Cross reports that Maui County officials are saying that many people are still unaccounted for, as crews continue to search through the rubble of homes, buildings, and burned-out vehicles in the fire zone. The fast-moving inferno spread from the brush outside of town and ravaged the historic city that was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The CDS volunteers are offering a center for activities, a calm presence, and caring attitudes. They arrived in Hawaii with two of the CDS trademark “Kit of Comfort” suitcases containing carefully selected toys that promote child-led imaginative play, encouraging children to express themselves and start the process of healing following the trauma of fire and its aftermath.

Find out more about Children’s Disaster Services at Support this work financially at

— Carolyn Neher is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, which is a program within Brethren Disaster Ministries.

A post from NASA Earth with a satellite view of the fires on Maui, dated Aug. 8. Photo credit: NASA

Please pray… For the Children’s Disaster Services volunteers who are serving children and families in Lahaina following the devastating wildfires. Please pray for the children and their families, that they may receive the comfort and help that they need.


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