How DC businesses are coming together to help Maui recover from wildfires

D.C. is a long way from Maui, but on Wednesday night, a long list of businesses from around the region are coming together to raise money for the ongoing crisis following the deadly wildfires there earlier this month.

Doron Petersan, the owner of Sticky Fingers. (Courtesy Sticky Fingers Diner)

A fundraising event is being held at Sticky Fingers Diner on H Street NE on Wednesday. It’ll feature food and drink specials, entertainment and a charity auction with donations from across the cultural spectrum: D.C.-area food, art and experiences will all go to the highest bidder, as businesses work to raise money for Maui Rapid Response and the Maui Humane Society.

Doron Petersan, the owner of Sticky Fingers, has never actually been to Hawaii. But her good friend, Tiffany MacIsaac, who owns the renowned Buttercream Bake Shop, is a native of Maui, and this is another instance of D.C.’s hospitality industry coming together.

“We all sort of know each other, and if we don’t know each other, we’re steps away,” said Petersan. “So instead of seven degrees of separation, think like, two.”

Petersan said her friend has “been working around the clock to try and get funds directly there. It’s really difficult to access Maui quickly from the mainland. Amazon overnight takes seven days,” she said, with only a modest amount of sarcasm.

The aid groups there are handing out everything they can as fast as they can, and more money is needed to help keep the supplies coming. That’s where these fundraising efforts come in.

The long, long list of area businesses have come together to offer restaurant gift certificates and a wide array of experiences in an auction being held during Wednesday’s event.

“We’re trying to raise $10,000, because we have a match for $10,000,” said Petersan. “So that would put $20,000 in pockets right away.”

If they raise even more than that, then all the better. Items for bidding come from about 25 restaurants.

“Almost every single business on H Street has donated,” said Petersan. “Granville Moore’s, The Queen Vic, Pow Pow, The Pug.”

Beyond that, you can also bid on art from Sherri Holdridge Photography, and pet care. House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park, Maryland, is auctioning off a ukulele, and you can then bid on ukulele lessons from musician Maureen Andary.

“Everybody was extremely generous,” said Petersan. “This was the easiest fundraiser ever. We put the word out. And within 20 minutes, I started getting emails from all of the local restaurants and businesses associated with them. And when I say restaurants, I mean the people behind them.

“This really touches the heart of everyone. We’ve had so many disasters and it’s really easy to just kind of, you know, forget about what’s happening and go on with your day,” she added.

If you can’t make it to Sticky Fingers, you can still donate online. The auction and charity event itself will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be hosted by local performers Tara Hoot and DJ Phil Reese.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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