The former talk show host, 69, promised she will make a “major donation” to residents and areas affected by the fires — the death toll of which rose to 93 on Sunday — in a new video posted on Instagram.
“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 in the clip. “I went to visit one of the big shelters here at the War Memorial [Stadium] and asked people what it is they needed and then went shopping for some things, some, you know, basic things like towels and sheets and shampoo and other necessities.”
“And at some point, I will make a major donation after all of the smoke and ash have settled here and we figure out what the rebuilding is going to look like,” she declared.
Winfrey, who was filmed handing out supplies at the War Memorial Stadium in Maui on Aug.10, acknowledged in the clip that rebuilding the island “is going to be a long and difficult process.”
She shared that she had been spending time at the shelters in Maui where she “met so many incredible people” including one man named Julius, who told her his harrowing account of how he narrowly escaped the fires.
“I said, ‘Julius, tell me what you need,’ because his legs were covered in bandages where he had to run to escape the fire,” Winfrey recalled. “And he said to me that he could ‘feel his skin popping’ as he was running. He got out of his car because the tires were melting and he couldn’t move forward and just started to run.”
She continued, “and when I said, ‘tell me what you need’ he said, ‘Mam, I need nothing. My life is now my greatest gift. I have my life.’
Winfrey said that, despite so many families having little left following the fires “they are so grateful just to have each other.”
There “is such an incredible spirit going on in this entire community,” she added. “I know that, long after the camera crews are gone and the rest of the world has moved on, the rebuilding will just begin. And Hawaiians are a strong cultural people and a family-loving people and with the help and support, you’re going to hear a lot of Phoenix stories rising from the ashes here.”
Oprah Winfrey Promises ‘Major Donation’ to Maui Following Wildfires. Oprah Winfrey Promises ‘Major Donation’ to Maui Following Wildfires