Before talking football with reporters in Green Bay on Thursday afternoon, Patriots linebacker Jahlani Tavai opened his press conference with a plea for help for victims of the devastating wildfires that impacted the Hawaiian island of Maui earlier this month.
Tavai, who played at the University of Hawaii and donned a Rainbow Warriors shirt on Thursday, is looking to spread the word of ways for fans to support families in need in Maui.
“I know you guys want to talk about football — and I’m going to answer those questions — but right now I just want to take the time to remind people that things are going bad out there in Hawaii,” Tavai said. “I’m not sure if people are watching the news, but there was a big fire and I know plenty of people that were affected by those fires. People who lost homes. People who lost family members, friends. I know a lot of people have been asking our media, myself included, how they can help and support. I can finally be able to present that.
“One way that people out there, especially our fans, can help is by donating to families that are in need directly. On my Instagram, on my social media, I have a link in my bio that literally shows all the families that are going through this struggle. I know a lot of teammates and myself have done our best to donate as much as we could. I just ask that anybody in the world right now who is watching, out of the kindness in their hearts, to give.”
Tavai shared a link on his social media account that leads to “Help Maui Rise: Directly Aid ‘Ohana Displaced by Fires,” a document that lists information on how to individually assist each family in need in Maui.
Tavai added that those looking to help can also donate to the Kāko’o Maui Fund, the Maui Strong Fund and the Nā Wahine Toa Foundation.
The 26-year-old linebacker, who has plenty of family ties in Hawaii, said that a number of Patriots teammates have already donated clothing and funds to help support various efforts in Maui.
“I’m hoping we can help whoever’s in need,” Tavai said. “There’s going to be a lot of Patriots gear out there in Hawaii, hopefully, soon. I hope that we just can spread more love out there.”
At least 111 people died in the wildfires that tore through Maui and devastated the town of Lahaina earlier this month. The number of residents unaccounted for is “probably still over 1,000,” Hawaii Gov. Josh Green told CNN on Wednesday.
“The Hawaiian community out there is struggling right now, especially with their families gone and their land gone,” Tavai said. “Myself, since I was out there, my lady; my dad’s from there. We’re doing our best to just try to put a smile on our face for the next days. … I’m just grateful that you guys are giving me the time to spread this news out there.”
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