Two Rochester volunteers for the Red Cross are helping wildfire-ravaged Maui

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s going to be a long road to recovery for Maui.

More than 300 volunteers from the American Red Cross are on the ground now, assisting communities in their time of need. Two of those volunteers are from Rochester.

The regional communications director for the Red Cross in Western New York, Michael Tedesco, says these two volunteers are going to be assisting with feeding people, helping them with a place to stay, and offering mental health support.

Tedesco says this recovery will be a long hall. The plan is to have these two volunteers stay for three weeks though, to help with the immediate aftermath of the wildfires and their devastation. In the meantime, he says there are currently 1,200 new volunteers in training from Hawaii, who want to help their neighbors.

Tedesco says the cost of repairs could be more than $10 million. But a lot of their support is spiritual, too. It’s about being there for people who are grieving. Families have lost loved ones. Entire communities have been wiped out. Tedesco says they’re calling it the deadliest fire in U.S. history, with over 90 deaths, and the casualties continue to rise.

“As we’ve seen locally with the Buffalo blizzard, the mass casualty in Buffalo more than a year ago now, those are the kinds of services, the spiritual care, mental health, care and consoling that goes into helping people that have experienced loss,” Tedesco said.

If you want to help, Tedesco says the best thing you can do is donate. You can head to the Red Cross website, send a check to your local red cross headquarters, or text the word “hawaii” to 9099, to donate $10.

The death toll for the Maui fires has reached at least 99. You can see the latest updates here.