SAN DIEGO — “It’s very devastating. It’s really heartbreaking with what’s happening,” said Andy Mangiduyos, who is closely following the Maui fires which have swept through his hometown of Lahaina.
The owner and chef at Kalei’s Kitchenette in Rancho Peñasquitos, Mangiduyos has juggled running his business while trying to get updates from home.
He says when the fires first broke out, he was unable to reach anyone.
“So basically, no power, no cell phone towers, no Wi-Fi or anything,” he said.
But Wednesday, Mangiduyos got a call from his siblings who had to evacuate, saying the family’s home had burned down.
“They said, ‘we’re OK, we’re fine, the kids are fine — but the house is not there anymore,'” said Mangiduyos.
He then had to break the news to his parents, who are on vacation in the Philippines.
“Calling them up and saying that, ‘hey, you guys gotta extend vacation, there’s no place to live.’ I told them, just look at it this way, it’s better that you guys are there. Everybody is safe and houses are replaceable,'” said Mangiduyos.
Now, Kalei’s Kitchenette is a drop-off site for donations to fire victims. Items needed right now include bottled water and non-perishable food, along with new linens and clothing.
“I can’t just pray only. I want to pray and do something tangible by giving back, because if I was in that situation, I would want somebody to do that for me and my family,” said a donor.
Mangiduyos says they are working with others in the local community to make sure donations reach fire victims.
And they plan to accept donations through August.
“Whatever San Diego people can do, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of people from here that know some friends or family back home. It’s a small island and small town and everybody knows everybody. When one family needs help, everybody helps,” said Mangiduyos.
Click here for more information about donations.