Every week, Oprah is setting an intention exclusively for Oprah Daily Insiders, with reflections on topics like letting go, forgiveness, coming into your own, and more.

preview for Oprah on the Devastation in Maui

Hey, everybody.

You know what this week has taught me, is that when you don’t know what to do, you do whatever you can. I have family members who were staying here with me here in Maui. At first we thought, at beginning of the week, that we were going to have to evacuate, and then the winds changed. Then, on Tuesday evening, I was coming back from a hike and saw this wall of black smoke on the west side of Maui—that’s behind me over there. The smoke was so thick, it was covering the sun. I didn’t know at that moment that it was the town of Lahaina being incinerated.

Since then, I’ve really not known what to do. I went to visit one of the big shelters here at the War Memorial and asked people what they needed—then went shopping for basic items like towels and sheets, shampoo, and other necessities. I will make a major donation after all of the smoke and ashes have settled and we figure out what the rebuilding is going to look like. This is going to be a long and difficult process.

Spending time at the shelters, I’ve met so many incredible people. To one guy, Julius, I said, “Julius, tell me what you need.” Because his legs were covered in bandages where he had to run to escape the fire. He said 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 he just started to run. When I said, “Tell me what you need,” he said, “Ma’am, I need nothing. My life is now my greatest gift. I have my life.”

I’ve seen so many families who are sharing a cot, an air mattress, and have nothing else left to their names, but they are so grateful just to have each other. And there is such an incredible spirit in this entire community, with people helping other people. I know that long after all 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 help and support, you’re going to see a lot of phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes stories because the “aloha spirit” is real, y’all—and it has been tested this week to the ultimate max.

I thank you for all of your prayers and your sentiments, and everybody in this community thanks you for anything you can offer or give at this time. We at Oprah Daily have vetted the charities that you’ll see below if you wish to donate to. I don’t have an intention this week, only to just do whatever I can, and I hope the same for all of you. Do what you can.

Organizations Helping the Residents of Maui

Hawaii Red Cross

The Hawaii Red Cross has shelters set up across Maui and Hawai’i Island for evacuees displaced by the fires. You can donate to support these shelters through its website, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Maui Humane Society

The Maui Humane Society is seeking emergency foster families to help house pets who have been lost, burned, or affected by the smoke. You can donate funds through its site, but it also has an Amazon Wishlist of supplies that will help those taking in the animals. To learn more about its SOS fostering program, click here.