The PenaVegas permanently moved from Los Angeles to Maui in 2017, according to People. Fortunately, the couple and their three kids — seven-year-old son Ocean, four-year-old son Kingston and two-year-old daughter Rio — were not at home during the devastating wildfires because they’ve been traveling while Carlos tours with Big Time Rush, but they’re not sure if they even have a house to go back to. Both stars gave social media updates on August 10, 2023, and vowed to return home in the coming days to help with relief efforts.
According to NBC News, at least 55 people have died in what is likely to be the largest natural disaster in the state’s history. Explosive wildfires began burning out of control on August 8, requiring mass evacuations as high winds helped the fires quickly gain strength. Hawaii Governor Josh Green told the media that it looks “like a bomb…went off” and that it will take years to rebuild communities like Lahaina, a historic community of 12,000 residents and a hot spot for tourists.
The PenaVegas, whose next Hallmark movie “Never Too Late to Celebrate” premieres on August 19, have posted videos on Instagram updating fans on the situation and encouraging them to donate to local fundraisers providing supplies and resources for the thousands displaced from their homes. Here’s what you need to know:
Alexa PenaVega Asks Fans to Help Their Community
On August 10, Alexa posted a video to her Instagram feed to update fans from the tour bus where they’ve been staying as a family throughout the Big Time Rush tour.
“Aloha fam, this has been a pretty wild couple days,” she began her video. “If you haven’t heard, there have been insane fires all across Maui. Our town that we live in, Lahaina, has completely burned to the ground and it’s really hard to look at.”
“The news is showing some stuff,” she continued, “but we have friends on the ground that are saying that it is far worse than you can imagine. Because they can’t show how bad it really is.”
The actress shared a GoFundMe link set up by friend and Hawaii native Slater Trout, who wrote that the funds raised will all go directly to families in West Side Maui. At the time of publication, the campaign had raised $137,000 of its $250,000 goal.
Though President Biden has approved federal funding for aid to Maui, CBS News reported that multiple local organizations are on the ground helping locals and tourists with shelter, food and medical aid. Donations can be made to the Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund, the Maui United Way, and the Maui Food Bank.
In her video, which has been shared by fellow Hallmark stars including Lacey Chabert and Janel Parrish, Alexa also urged tourists on the island to “please go home” because they’re taking up resources and hotel rooms that local families now need. But some people in her comment section took issue with this, saying that they have friends and families who were vacationing on Maui and are stranded.
One person wrote, “My sister is just visiting on vacation and believe me she would go home if she could. Everything they brought burnt in the fire as they were out and about when the evacuation happened. They got stranded in their rental car after being evacuated twice and haven’t been able to get a flight home. No food since they only had credit cards and any open businesses were only taking cash. My brother in law is without necessary medication. They ran out of gas while running from the fire and ended up having to leave the car behind. Believe me they would go home if they could.”
Carlos PenaVega Says ‘It’s Been Really Hard Just Watching’ the Situation Back Home
The PenaVegas uploaded a second video to Carlos’ Instagram Stories on August 10, again from the tour bus, as he shared an update and Alexa sat in the background, adding details. The actor said they have many friends who’ve lost family members, describing the situation as “truly devastating,” and added that “it’s been really hard watching” the situation from afar.
Carlos said their family plans to head back home as soon as the Big Time Rush tour ends. The music group, which starred in a Nickelodeon show that ran from 2009 — 2013, has had a resurgence in popularity and will wrap up their U.S. tour on August 12.
He said in the video, “Alexa and I, as soon as the tour’s done in a few days, we’re headed to Maui and we’re gonna get our boots on the ground … get a tool belt, get the tractors, and start helping rebuild however we can. Because this is just … literally, no words.”
“We don’t even know if our house over there is good,” he added. “And honestly, it doesn’t matter. I’m just so focused on the people of Maui and especially the people in Lahaina because it’s gone.”
Alexa added, “It’s really hard but we’re seeing people band together in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time, and it’s beautiful to see a community come together.”
Carlos emphasized how important the community has been to them, saying, “It’s literally gone. It’s gone. Places that we took our kids for the last eight years. Places that we visited, which a lot of you probably have vacationed over there, places that have been there for years and years and years are just completely gone.”