Tongi, who hails from the area of Kahuku and is the first-ever Hawaiian Idol winner, said that ever since he heard about the wildfires in Maui, he’s been struggling to find a way to send his support to the region.
“The devastating news of Maui hits harder than I can express,” he writes in his social media post. “I have thought and rethought about ways I could help the people of Maui because I feel incapable seeing people donating so much money that I don’t have.”
But the more he thought about it, Tongi continues, the more he realized that there were multiple ways to support Maui in its time of crisis.
“And talking with family members and watching videos of people helping each other has made me realize that there’s so much more ways to help,” he continues. “If you’re donating money, any amount would help as long as we try to make sure it’s going to the right hands … if you can’t donate money, we can look into other ways of donating whether it be clothing, food, time, etc …”
As he encouraged fans to get creative with their efforts to help Maui, Tongi shared his own gift: A song. “The only talent I have is music and wanted to dedicate this song by Mel and Tim [sung[ by the great Bruddah Iz …”
“I love you Maui and you’re always in my prayers,” he concludes.
As of Monday (Aug. 14), the death toll from the Maui wildfires has risen to 96, according to NBC. The devastation began early in August, when a series of fires broke out across the island. Roughly 1,000 people remain missing, and thousands more have been displaced from their homes.