Oprah Winfrey, a part-time resident of Maui for over 15 years, took action on Thursday by distributing supplies to evacuees from the island’s deadly wildfires at the War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku. In a video from the BBC, she mentioned that she visited Walmart and Costco to shop for items such as pillows, shampoo, diapers, sheets, and pillowcases. The overwhelming scene of rows of cots and folding chairs in the gymnasium was captured as she carried a pillow in the video.
The local residents have been urging celebrities and billionaires who own properties on the island, such as Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, and Steven Tyler, to support relief efforts. Lauren Sánchez, Mr. Bezos’s partner, shared on social media that they also planned to make donations.
According to Architectural Digest, Ms. Winfrey owns approximately 1,000 acres of land on Maui. However, she has not given any updates about the status of her properties, including the Thompson Ranch located in central Maui, which is south of the fires, as well as the hundreds of acres she reportedly owns in the Kula area southeast of Lahaina, the devastated seaside town in West Maui.
The local residents have expressed mixed feelings regarding Ms. Winfrey’s real estate pursuits on the island. Yuki Lei Sugimura, a Maui County Council member, stated in an interview with KITV, a Honolulu-based television station, that she appreciates Ms. Winfrey’s efforts to hire Maui residents and protect agricultural land from development. Sugimura emphasized that these are significant issues, and Ms. Winfrey is actively engaging with them.
In light of the ongoing crisis caused by the wildfires, it is commendable to see individuals like Oprah Winfrey taking action to assist those affected. By distributing essential supplies and utilizing her resources, she is making a positive impact on the evacuees. It is also encouraging to see other notable figures like Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel planning to contribute to the relief efforts. However, it would be valuable for Ms. Winfrey to provide updates on the status and safety of her properties, considering their proximity to the fires. Despite the mixed opinions about her real estate pursuits, it is important to acknowledge her efforts to create job opportunities and protect agricultural land on the island. By addressing these significant issues, she is playing an integral role in the well-being of the local community.