Businesses feel the pain from Maui fires and take action to help from the mainland

The Polynesian quadrangle of downtown businesses with ties to the Hawaiian Islands are all active in raising funds for Maui following massive fires in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui on Aug. 8.

Dr. Funk Rum House, 29 N. San Pedro St. and Hula Bar and Kitchen, 30 E. Santa Clara teamed up to host a fundraiser on Aug. 23 at Dr. Funk.  Every dollar spent went directly into the Maui Strong fund.

Rum House owner David Mulvehill reached out to Hula’s Ryan Gorospe to join forces.  Gorospe said that he has used his Hula Trucks for charitable purposes regularly over the past five years to help people in need.

“If I didn’t have money to make and bills to pay, I’d be perfectly happy helping and feeding people all of the time,” he said.

Dr. Funk is named after famed Samoan and South Pacific Dr. Bernhard Funk, who served as a physician for Robert Louis Stevenson until his death. The bar and menu have a Polynesian theme.

The other two Pacific Islands businesses all within a few hundred yards of each other are Pono Hawaiian Grill, owned by Timmy Hunt, and Tiki Pete, owned by Rena and Pete Be,  both on the first block of North Market Street. They are also contributing to Maui relief.

“Being so far from home and unable to physically assist in the efforts to help our people has been mentally trying,” owner Timmy Hunt wrote on Instagram. “All I want to do is be there to serve others back home in their time of need.”

Hunt’s Pono Hawaiian Grill restaurants in Santa Cruz and downtown San Jose have teamed up with Santa Cruz Surf Shop to create a line of “Maui Strong” by Pono T-shirts and hoodies.  One hundred percent of profits will go to the people of Maui through the Hawaii Community Foundation.

“With this unprecedented event of destruction and loss of life, business and way of life for so many, all we want to do is KŌKUA!,” Hunt said.  “And through a collaboration with Pono Hawaiian Grill and Santa Cruz Surf Shop, that is what we are doing!”

Tiki Pete is raising funds to help people in Maui through its already-existing non-profit, Giving With Aloha, whose mission is to provide assistance to abused, neglected and at-risk children.

Said Rena Be: “Maui needs us more than ever and that’s where our primary focus is at this time.”

In addition, Signia by Hilton San Jose has a special “Menu for Maui” during Sunday brunches until Oct. 1

The special menu by Executive Chef Hanz Letz and Executive Sous Chef Joseph Derla — who have direct family and residence ties to Maui — includes braised short rib Loco Moco, Ube custard French toast pudding, and fish and poi. Proceeds will go into the Kokua Hospitality and Restaurant Fund managed by Hawai’i Ag & Culinary Alliance to support the community of restaurant, bar and hospitality workers.

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