In the Press

Luau for Lahaina fundraiser in Newport

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A Newport Brewery hosted a special luau to raise funds for the Maui community after last month’s devastating wildfires.

Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling on JT Connell Hwy worked with Paolino Properties to raise funds for Maui and island residents devastated by last month’s wildfires.

Newport Craft Brewing and Distilling CEO Brendan O’Donnell partnered with his friend Christina Paolino of Paolino Properties to support their friend Rachel’s Kravchuk family, who was impacted by the deadly fires.

“One of the things that a hallmark of really all hospitality of Rhode Island is just treating each other like your neighbor and always having each other’s backs and being there when they need you,” said O’Donnell.

Christina Paolino said seeing the news of the fires everywhere was unsettling.

“I felt helpless. I could see my best friend sitting here feeling helpless for her family, and I felt helpless as to how to support her,” said Paolino.

So, O’Donnell and Paolino put together Sunday’s festive Luau for Lahaina fundraiser.

Rachel has several family members in Maui, including an aunt, uncle and cousin from Lahaina who lost everything.

The cousin from Lahaina barely escaped with her family.

“They left the truck, and they went through people’s backyards through the fires,” said Kravchuk “My cousin speaks about dragging, not dragging but pulling behind my niece and just had to get out of there.”

“So, the trauma that she experienced at such a young age, and he didn’t even have a shirt that day, so he literally lost everything.”

Multiple vendors, like Neapolitan Brick Oven Pizza and Kona Ice, were at the event on their own time and dime to show support and even donate some of the money they made.

“Knowing how many people are pulling for them and fighting to raise funds is what’s keeping everybody functioning probably, and I just hope that it doesn’t stop,” said Kravchuk.

The team reminds neighbors to continue to show support, whether it’s through finances or prayers.

“It’s important to keep thinking about people long after it’s a headline,” said Paolino.

The goal is $30,000, and the team has already raised more than $20,000.

To learn how you can help, visit the event’s Go Fund Me website.

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