NEW YORK (PIX11) — The “Aloha Spirit” is alive and well in New York City thanks to the goodwill of the Big Apple.
Julian Lin, 8, set up a lemonade stand at West 67th and Central Park West this weekend to raise thousands of dollars for the victims of the wildfires on Maui.
Lin, whose stand is a fixture in the neighborhood, dedicated Saturday’s effort to his friend’s family from Lahaina after they lost everything in the historic fires.
Ryan Chagas lost everything, and his uncle is missing.
“Us guys from Lahaina are very prideful for our land and homes, and of course, what’s yours you don’t want taken from you.” Chagas tearfully told PIX11 the generosity of New Yorkers has been overwhelming. “I know [Julian’s] a kid, but I love how much his lemonade stand impacted New York to see what we’re doing.”
Lin’s mom, Julie said the family is “so moved by your support…it all made a difference.” On Saturday alone, the effort raised over $2,200.
Lin’s GoFundMe will continue raising money for the wildfire victims, surpassing its initial goal of $1,500.
Saje Dyer and her family from Battery Park City are also stepping up.
After starting helpmauinow.com, it raised nearly a million dollars in just days.
“When I started this, I hadn’t heard from my brother yet,” Dyer said.
Her brother, Sands, a Lahaina resident and catamaran captain, survived and is helping ferry supplies with his boat.
“In times like this, when there’s massive devastation, sometimes the best in humanity comes out,” Dyer continued.
New York City deployed Task Force One members to Maui, including first responders from the FDNY and NYPD, to help search for the missing.
Several volunteers from the Greater New York American Red Cross are on the island, too, handing out supplies, which had been hard to come by.
“It doesn’t change the core of our mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of disasters,” said Bowen Yu of the Long Island chapter.
According to GoFundMe, donors from New York have contributed nearly $700,000 in relief money.