Fundraiser held in Bedford to help those impacted by Hawaii wildfires

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BEDFORD, TexasHundreds of people gathered at Midcities Montessori in Bedford Sunday to take part in a fundraiser to support those impacted by the wildfires in Maui.

Those who attended said the “Aloha Spirit” is alive and well in North Texas. 

Thousands of miles away from the Hawaiian islands, the Hawaiian community in North Texas is honoring their heritage. 

“We’re people that stick together, through good times, through bad,” Pomai Uyehara said.

Uyehara grew up on the big island, but has family on other islands, including Maui. Her uncle lost everything in the wildfires and described the island as apocalyptic.

“Never, never, never, never. It’s paradise. It’s the last thing you think of is this happening,” Uyehara said.

Nine years ago, Uyehara and her husband started Pineapple Grill in Hurst.

She knew they had to do something to help, even those who are far away.

“Everybody is excited to come together for such a great cause,” she said.

Uyehara put together a fundraiser at Midcities Montessori. The school sold shirts to raise money for children in Maui.

There was also baked goods for sale, silent auction items, and a raffle. 

The Pineapple Grill food truck and Aloha Dreams shaved ice served up authentic Hawaiian dishes. 

“So, together here in Texas, whether you’re from Hawaii, whether you’ve visited or you just want to help, that’s what this is all about,” Uyehara said.

The money raised from the food sales, raffle, and silent auction items will go to help seven families who were directly impacted by the wildfires, like Stephanie and Chester Mahelona’s uncle and nephew. 

“We’re very humbled, we’re very humbled,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie grew up in Lahaina and her family has lived on the same land for generations. 

She told FOX 4 her nephew has three children, and one of them was missing for 48 hours before he was found safe. 

She said her uncle’s house on the beach burned to the ground. 

“They’re okay physically. It’s going to take them a long time spiritually,” she said.

Chester says the Lahaina community will make it happen with aloha.

“If you have an island heritage, you have to learn to live together in harmony otherwise you’re not going to make it,” he added.

And he hopes Maui felt the “Aloha Spirit” all the way from Texas. 

“It means everything. It’s that “Aloha Spirit” coming out here in Texas. It’s something that you take with you wherever you go,” Chester said.

Click here if you would like to help.

Uyehara said she would be able to share how much money they raised for the families later this week.

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