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Steveston eatery raises more than $5K for Maui

Funds will benefit the people of Maui recovering from the devastating Lahaina fire.

A Steveston business has raised more than $5,000 for the wildfire disaster relief fund in Maui.

The Aloha Hawaiian Grill, which only opened a few months ago, raised the money for the Maui Strong Fund through a number of means on Sunday at a fundraiser at its Steveston Village eatery.

The Hawaiian joint partnered with Paul Tavai-Latta Dancers & Co. to sell Hawaiian food and showcase Polynesian dance performances every half an hour for eight hours to raise funds for the people of Maui recovering from the Lahaina fire.

Restaurant owner Isabel Angeles said the cash donations, tips and sales in the restaurant for the cause were roughly around $3,000 and the hula dancers raised just a little over $2,000.

The eatery is still accepting tips and donations until Aug. 31.

“I don’t think there was really any expectation on how much we wanted to raise because we are so new, but we were hoping we would surpass grand opening day, which I think we’re pretty close to,” said Angeles.

Line-ups were out the door and around the corner to support the business as people waited to watch the performances and learned about the history of Hawaii, what the dances mean and even what the different dance costumes symbolize.

Angeles added that the Steveston Maritime Festival, which was being held at Britannia Shipyards on the same day, helped draw more crowds to their cause.

“People would walk by, hear the music and they’d stop to enjoy some food and watch the dances and Paul who is absolutely amazing at sharing the story of Hawaii,” she said.

“They were saying things like ‘This is so wonderful that you guys are doing this and the dancing is great’ and they really enjoyed it.”

Angeles told the Richmond News the funds will be donated to the Maui Strong Fund to help the people of Maui temporarily pay rent, rebuild homes, and pay for basic necessities as they try to recover from the fire that decimated the island.

“The government of Hawaii is trying to step in and prevent people from buying the land from the locals in Maui,” she said.

“For some, the solution is to sell their land and go somewhere where there’s already a house, but others are trying to convince them not to because it’s going to end up like another Waikiki.”

While all donations are accepted, Angeles said tips in the U.S. dollar will help make donating to the fund easier.

“The hard part of donating to Maui right now is that everything has to be in U.S. dollar,” said Angeles.

“We’re trying to figure out the best economical way to do it without losing money to fees.”

Aloha Hawaiian Grill is taking any cash or item donations until the end of the month.