Oprah Winfrey Promises Major Donation for Maui Fire Recovery (Video)

The talk show legend owns 2,000 acres on Maui and promised to make the donation “once all the smoke and ash has settled”

Getty Images

In a video post on her Oprah Daily Instagram account, talk show legend Oprah Winfrey shared thoughts on the fires that have devastated Hawaiian island Maui’s Lahaina neighborhood. The fires have left 93 people dead, according to the Associated Press.

“At some point, I will make a major donation, after all of the smoke and ashes have settled here, and we figure out what the rebuilding is going to look like,” Winfrey said. “This is going to be a long and difficult process.”

Winfrey shared one of the intimate stories that she’s known for being able to shine a light on.

“Spending time at the shelters, I’ve met so many incredible people,” Winfrey said. “One guy, Julius — I said, ‘Julius, tell me what you need,’ because his legs were covered in bandages where he had to run to escape the fire. And he said to me that he could feel the skin popping as he was running. He got out of his car because the tires were melting and he couldn’t move forward. And he just started to run.

“And when I said, tell me what you need, he said, ‘Ma’am, I need nothing. My life is now my greatest gift. I have my life,’” Winfrey said.

Earlier this week, Winfrey told the BBC that she’d asked what was needed by evacuees, went to Walmart and Costco to buy basics, then brought them back to the shelter. She shared about that experience in her Instagram video.

“You know, what this week has taught me is that, when you don’t know what to do, you do whatever you can,” Winfrey said. “I went to visit one of the big shelters here at the War Memorial and asked people what it is they needed. And then went shopping for some things, some basic things — like towels, and sheets, and shampoo, and other necessities.”

Winfrey talked about what she’d seen at the shelters and the spirit she’d seen among the Hawaiian people.

“I’ve seen so many families who are sharing a cot, an air mattress, and have nothing else left to their names. But they are so grateful just to have each other. And there is such an incredible spirit going on in this entire community — people helping other people,” Winfrey said.

“And I know that long after all of the camera crews are gone and the rest of the world has moved on, the rebuilding will just begin,” she continued. “And Hawaiians are a strong culture, and people, and a family-loving people. And with help and support, you’re going to see a lot of phoenix stories rising from the ashes here.”