SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Two young women from Santa Barbara who have boots on the ground on Maui launched a grassroots fundraising effort to help people on the fire-ravaged island.
As of Friday evening, 17-year-old Nora Collins-Burgard and her friend, 18-year-old Ella Robins, said they raised nearly $6,000 in less than 48 hours. Friends and relatives are among those donating to the cause.
"Heading to do another run for First Responders, pets, and victims," Collins-Burgard said in a text to your NewsChannel team. "As of right now they (survivors) need things like hairbrushes, TONS of diapers, bedding, towels, dog and cat leashes, wipes and first aid kits."
Abe Powell, Founder and Executive Director of the Bucket Brigade confirmed to NewsChannel that the non-profit set up a link in support of the local teens' efforts on Maui.
The young women shared a clip of video they took as they came across a large military convoy sent from Oahu, making its way to Lahaina.
Robins and Collins-Burgard quickly switched their plans this week from vacation mode to urgent fundraising after learning about the deadly and devastating fires.
During a Zoom interview on Thursday with your NewsChannel, the teens shared that there were very tense moments among passengers boarding the plane at LAX the day before, as people learned about the devastating fires on the island. Nearly half of the passengers decided to skip the flight and deplaned.
Collins-Burgard and Robins continued on to Maui to visit Robin's grandmother and to try to help people on the island impacted by the fires.
"It was pretty intense to see," said Collins-Burgard. "It brought back a little bit to like, the Thomas Fire. And we were like, 'Okay, what can we do?' because it kind of hit close to home."
The young women used some of their own money and donations collected from friends and family. By Thursday afternoon, they spent $800 and said they still have enough money to buy more supplies on Friday.
"We will bring everything over and will document," Collins-Burgard said, via text.
They filled grocery carts with pet food, personal hygiene products, baby food and diapers. They also purchased vital supplies for First Responders, including protein bars and hydration drinks.
"It's definitely a lot of sadness," said Robins, who was born on Maui. "But definitely, like the community is all coming together over this and it's heartwarming to see that."
You might say, helping others is in their DNA.
Collins-Burgard's mother, Ann, is a strong force with the Bucket Brigade. She was instrumental in helping families dig out from the Montecito mudslide. And both young women have volunteered with the local non-profit.