Bay Area dockworkers gathering donations to ship to Maui wildfire victims

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Monday, August 14, 2023
Bay Area dockworkers gather donations for Maui wildfire victims
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Bay Area dockworkers are determined to get much-needed supplies to those devastated by the Maui wildfires.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One pallet at a time, Bay Area dockworkers are determined to get at least one shipment container filled and set to sea, providing much-needed supplies to those devastated by the Maui wildfires.

"Toiletries, feminine products, clothing, garbage bags, pet food," said Gina Villegiante, noting some of the items they're collecting. She is a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 10 and says it will take about 13 days for the shipment to dock.

"So this container will go to the Port of Oakland. It'll get loaded on the ship and it'll go to Hawaii," she said.

The container, located at North Point and Mason Streets, is capturing the attention of San Francisco tourists.The Jessen's are visiting from Australia, a country that's seen its own wildfire wrath.

RELATED: Maui wildfire updates: Latest on devastating Hawaii fires that killed at least 93

Jonathan Jessen is a firefighter and got emotional when speaking about the wildfires on Maui.

"He sees what people go through, the communities," said his wife, Sharon Jessen.

"And it does affect you," added Johnathan. "Look, I'm sort of getting teary now, feeling for those people."

"This hits close to home for me. It's my favorite vacation destination. I was actually planning a trip to Lahaina for the end of the year," said Local 10 member, Charles Andrews. "So it was very moving to me and kind of essential that I came out here and play my part."

Down in Los Angeles their union counterparts are also putting in the work.

RELATED: 'Hearts with Lahaina': Aloha Festival brings love and relief for wildfire-ravaged Maui

"It took us back because our own members up there -- some are missing, through the fires. And the hotel workers that lost their homes, they lost their place to work. They have nowhere -- there's kids, there's babies," said Gary Herrera, president of ILWU Local 13. "Our own local reached out to us, Local 142 out in Hawaii, and said, 'Hey, we need help.' This was a no-brainer. We were going to do this no matter what."

Meanwhile back in San Francisco, a message for Maui:

"I wish them all the bloody best and good on you, firefighters. Fantastic," Johnathan said.

And if you would like to help get containers filled, you can drop off donations at the cross streets of North Point and Mason in San Francisco between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. through Aug. 18.

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