Oprah Winfrey is lending a hand to residents impacted by the devastating wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, offering personal support and donations at a local shelter.
In photos and clips shared to social media, Oprah can be seen visiting with people sheltering at the War Memorial Gymnasium in Maui and handing out supplies, including pillows, cots and toiletries. ET has learned that the media mogul — who owns a home on the island — went to the shelter to ask firsthand what items were most needed. She then left to purchase those products and returned to distribute them in person. Oprah is said to be planning to offer more support to those impacted by the devastation as it becomes clear which funds will be most helpful in both the short-term and long-term rebuilding.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Oprah told BBC in a somber interview from inside the shelter. “But I’m really so pleased to have so many people supporting and people are just bringing what they can and doing what they can.”
She continued, “Often you make donations of clothes or whatever and it’s not really what people need. So I actually went to Walmart and Costco and got pillows, shampoo, diapers, sheets, pillowcases.”
Oprah’s visit was also documented in a series of Instagram posts from the organization Kāko’o Haleakalā.
“Maui Resident Oprah Winfrey, stopped by the shelter in Wailuku. She asked what the need was and she’s going to supply! Mahalo Oprah! ❤️” read the first post.
A follow-up post stated, “Mahalo Nui @oprah for following through! She returned with cots, pillows, and toiletries for the people in the shelter at in Wailuku. She even spent some time with the people there. It was very much appreciated. Can we challenge anyone who’s watching this and who calls Maui / Hawaiʻi “their home”, like Oprah to step up to plate and show your aloha and kōkua and kakoʻo (support). When in Hawaiʻi, you act like the Hawaiians and malama (care). Where there’s a need you fill it. Just saying! Aloha I ke kahi i ke kahi. 🙏🏾❤️”
On Tuesday night, wildfires began to ravage Maui as a result of draught conditions and hurricane weather. According to the Associated Press, the death toll has risen to at least 55 people. Additionally, the historic Lahaina Town was completely destroyed.
“We are devastated and heartbroken for our friends and ‘ohana on Maui who been impacted by the recent wildfires,” Fast X actor Jason Momoa — who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii — wrote on Instagram, sharing a series of posts that included information about the catastrophic event.
Mick Fleetwood, the drummer of Fleetwood Mac, took to Instagram on Wednesday to share that his restaurant, Fleetwood’s on Front St., had been destroyed amid the extreme fires on the Hawaiian island.
“Maui and the Lahaina community have been my home for several decades. This is a devastating moment for Maui and many are suffering unimaginable loss,” he captioned a photo of the iconic restaurant, which he opened in downtown Lahaina in 2012.
“Fleetwood’s on Front Street has been lost and while we are heartbroken our main priority is the safety of our dear staff and team members,” he continued. “On behalf of myself and my family I share my heartfelt thoughts and prayers for the people of Maui. We are committed to supporting the community and those affected by this disaster in the days month and years to come.”
Several stars with ties to the island have spoken out about the tragedy, including Carlos PenaVega, who lives in Maui with his wife, Alexa PenaVega. Carlos wrote on social media that he has “no words” for the devastation.
Meanwhile, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who owns a home on the island, told ET that him and his house are both safe.
Weird Al Yankovic’s wife, Suzanne, also spoke out about the fires, revealing on Instagram that she and her husband’s phone line and internet connection were restored at their Maui home on Thursday.
“Just a note to say thank you to those who have been reaching out to us, we are safe,” she wrote. “Heartbreaking here but we on the east side of Maui are coming together with clothes, food, shelter and other donations for those affected on this beautiful island.”
In other news – Pearl Thusi explains why she was in Zimbabwe
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