'Heartening': Thousands pitch in to help those affected by massive highrise blaze

Joel Horiguchi (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Joel Horiguchi (Image: Hawaii News Now)
The benefit will take place at the village's amphitheater, a stage commonly used for community events. (Image: WardVillage/file)
The benefit will take place at the village's amphitheater, a stage commonly used for community events. (Image: WardVillage/file)

MOILIILI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just two weeks before his wedding, Joel Horiguchi found himself among the dozens of residents that remain displaced following Friday's fatal Marco Polo condo fire.

"As things stand right now, we're homeless," Horiguchi said. "I feel helpless. The more time goes by, the less we have to salvage."

However, he and many others are not working to rebuild their lives alone.

Scores of Hawaii businesses and individuals have been sharing some major aloha to aid those affected by the highrise fire.

"The community as a whole has really stepped up and basically helped with all sorts of things such as food, shelter, donations. You name it, we have it," said Selkie Khoo, communications director for Associa Hawaii, the property's management company. "It is very heartening. Everyone has risen up to the occasion."

Since the blaze, The American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter has led the relief efforts, opening a shelter over the weekend and feeding more than 800 first responders and residents. The Red Cross is also surveying the damage to affected units, and helping connect Marco Polo residents with needed services.

Companies like Home Depot, Safeway and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce have also sent in donations, according to Associa Hawaii.

And tables have been set up by the Salvation Army in the Marco Polo lobby to accept donations.

Associa Hawaii said they have $50,000 set aside as grants for housing assistance to help the victims.

But with reportedly nearly 200 units sustaining any kind of damage, many are relying on personal GoFundMe accounts. Some have already raised thousands of dollars for individuals affected.

Here's how you can help:

Local musicians will host a benefit concert Wednesday from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Ward Village Amphitheater. All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Hawaii Chapter.

Radio personalities Shannon Scott and "Mento Mele" Apana will emcee the event with Na Hoa, Shar Carillo, Ben and Malia and Napua Greig among the entertainers set to perform.

Some merchants will stay open later at Ward Village to give a portion of their proceeds to the relief fund as well.

If you miss Wednesday's benefit concert, Finance Factors will hold their annual charity breakfast on Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Bishop Street.

Each $6 breakfast will help benefit the American Red Cross and Marco Polo residents.

"It's a good time to help out. Especially since we respond to disasters every four days, we are on call 365 days a year, including Marco Polo," said Coralie Matayoshi, CEO for the American Red Cross Hawaii chapter.

Matayoshi also said the public can help by visiting the American Red Cross at the Marco Polo building from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. through the week. Donations of food and clothing are being accepted.

Monetary donations can also be made to the Red Cross by clicking here.

Despite the tragedy, many good samaritans have pitched in to make Horiguchi's wedding one to remember.

Horiguchi told Hawaii News Now that companies and individuals all offered to cover the wedding's desserts, party favors, table centerpieces and photography for free.

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