Oprah Winfrey Brings Supplies to Evacuees of ‘Overwhelming’ Hawaiian Wildfires

The OWN founder, who has a house in Hawaii, went to Walmart and Costco to buy bedding and other necessities

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey (Steve Jennings/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey, who owns a house in Hawaii, was in Maui on Thursday to personally deliver needed supplies to evacuees of the island’s devastating wildfires. The flames have claimed 67 lives so far, with many more still missing, WBAL-TV reported Friday.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” a visibly distraught Winfrey told the BBC at Maui’s War Memorial Stadium, where a shelter has been set up for the many people displaced by the fires.

“But I’m really so pleased to have so many people supporting, and people are just bringing what they can and doing what they can,” Winfrey added.

She explained that she’d checked the shelter earlier to see which items people needed the most.

“Often you make donations of clothes or whatever, and it’s not really what people need,” she said as she distributed pillows. “So I actually went to Walmart and Costco and got pillows, shampoo, diapers, sheets, pillowcases.”

She posed for photos with several residents, who thanked her for her help. The multi-hyphenate was also one of several celebrities donating millions to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation earlier this month as the actors’ strike drags on.

Hawaii native Jason Momoa has also been fundraising for locals who have lost everything.

Donations can be made to the Hawaii Community Foundation Maui County Strong Fund.

Those affected by the fires include “Top Chef” alum Lee Anne Wong, who lost her restaurant Papa‘aina. On Thursday, she helped the World Central Kitchen team on Maui pack 2,000 lunches and expected to feed 2,000 more dinners, the Washington Post reported.

“It doesn’t matter at all. I can always build another restaurant,” Wong said. “I need to find my employee. We need to find safety and shelter and food and water. That is all anybody is thinking about.”

According to the Post, the missing employee was later found safe. Wong, who was on “Top Chef” in 2006, said that most of her staff had “lost everything.”

The fires also destroyed Fleetwood’s on Front Street, owned by musician Mick Fleetwood. “Fleetwood’s on Front Street has been lost and while we are heartbroken our main priority is the safety of our dear staff and team members,” he wrote on Instagram. “On behalf of myself and my family, I share my heartfelt thoughts and prayers for the people of Maui.”

He lamented the loss of the historic Lahaina community, saying that he is “committed to supporting the community and those affected by this disaster in the days months and years to come.”