Oprah Winfrey and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson have teamed up to help people whose lives have been shattered by the wildfires in Maui, Hawaii.
The duo has launched the People’s Fund of Maui, in which cash will go directly to people whose lives have been affected by the blazes. Winfrey and Johnson kicked off the campaign by donating $10 million.
“Collaborating closely with an esteemed advisory board and support from the local community and respected elders, this new fund will serve as a bridge to provide cash directly to the families and individuals affected so that they can personally determine how best to use the funds for themselves,” a statement about the undertaking said.
Anyone who is 18 or older who lives in the affected area and was displaced by the wildfires that ravaged the areas of Lahaina and Kula on the island of Maui can receive $1,200 each month to help assist them as they get back on their feet. All net proceeds will go to those directly impacted in Maui.
“I have been meeting with people throughout the community that were impacted by the fires over the last few weeks, asking what they most needed and how I could be of service,” Winfrey, who has a home in Maui, said in a press release.
“The main thing I’ve been hearing is their concern about how to move forward under the immense financial burden. The community has come together in so many wonderful ways, and my intention is to support those impacted as they determine what rebuilding looks like for them.”
Johnson, who is of Samoan descent and spent part of his childhood in Hawaii, echoed Winfrey’s sentiment.
“As people around the world watched the catastrophic loss and devastation caused by the Maui wildfires, they also witnessed the great spirit and resilience of our Polynesian culture and the tremendous strength of the people of Maui. Even in the most difficult of times, the people of Maui come together, and we rise -- that’s what makes us stronger,” he said in the press release.
“We are beyond grateful to be working alongside esteemed community leaders of Maui to launch the People’s Fund of Maui,” he continued. “These leaders are offering their guidance to ensure our fund can put money directly in the hands of those individuals most affected.
“To all who have already offered your help, thank you for your support and for those wanting to help now, your prayers and resources are a welcome assistance for those displaced within the Maui community.”
The Maui wildfire broke out earlier this month and has since become the deadliest wildfire in modern American history with a current death toll placed at 115 people as of Aug. 30, according to Maui police.
“You want to take care of the greatest need of the people and that’s giving them money,” Johnson said while appearing in a video with Winfrey about the effort.
“We want to have this fund go for as long as you, America, choose to help us with this fund,” Winfrey added.
“And our goal is to be able to give people money regularly for at least the next six months so that they will be able to make decisions for themselves and be able to have some sense of value for what they can bring to themselves and to their families. We will continue the fund for as long as you help us continue the fund.”