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Hilo-born Kolten Wong of St. Louis Cardinals makes plea for donations to help lava victims

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    This screenshot from Kolten Wong’s GoFundMe page shows a video of Wong asking for help for those affected by Kilauea.


    St. Louis Cardinals’ Kolten Wong watched his walk-off two-run home run off Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Luke Farrell during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. Hilo-born Wong today released a plea for donations to help lava victims.

Hilo-born Major League Baseball player Kolten Wong has launched a GoFundMe page for victims of the Kilauea eruptions, called “Hawaii Natural Disasters Relief.”

The campaign, accompanied by a 4-minute personal video from Wong, who has family on Hawaii island and played for the University of Hawaii at Manoa, aims to raise $200,000 for families displaced by lava eruptions.

>> Star-Advertiser Kilauea volcano coverage:
>> Hawaii-born MLB player Kolten Wong joins list of GoFundMe fundraisers:
>> Science explains Kilauea
>> Lava flow at Leilani Estates in Pahoa:
>> Photos from Leilani Estates as lava advances:
>> Residents in Nanawale Estates keep an eye on Pele:

>> Leilani Estates resident talks about not evacuating
>> AP: Lava flow oozes onto Hawaii pavement
>> Hawaii island residents monitor Kilauea flow
>> Aerial footage of lava flowing into Leilani Estates on May 6
>> Leilani Estates home goes up in flames after lava strikes
>> East Hawaii residents brace as 6.9 quake hits
>> Crack opens in road, lava flows in Leilani Estates
>> Puu Oo vent empties

Wong, second-baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, explained that people on Hawaii island respect Pele, the goddess of fire, as a ruler and creator of the Hawaiian isles, and do not try to push the lava in a different direction.

Wong said he felt a strong kuleana, or responsibility, to help his people.

“The one thing I know, man is that I love my people and I’m going to do everything for them,” said Wong in the video. “So I ask you guys humbly, I’m creating this GoFundMe page, it’s going to be in my bio, to go check it out…It’s going to be used in the right way…I’m going to make sure every single dollar you do give is going toward these people to help them rebuild what they have, to get their lives started up again and to help the Big Island rebuild.”

A centralized link for several GoFundMe campaigns related to the volcanic eruptions at Hawaii island is now available.

Among the campaigns are “Help Amber Rebuild.” Amber Makuakane is a Pahoa Elementary School teacher and single mother of two whose home was one of the first five at Leilani Estates to be completely destroyed by lava.

The campaign for Makuakane, started by fellow teacher Kailina Lewis, has a goal of $100,000. As of this morning, more than $36,000 has been raised.

Many of the campaigns are for individuals and their families.

Another campaign includes funds for a family that ran a bed and breakfast, as well as two other businesses, from their home at Leilani Estates.

Joshua and Colleen Block said their lives were changed in an instant on Thursday afternoon. The couple, along with their baby and four dogs, were displaced as lava burst through the road one block away, according to their account. They are staying with family and seeking $25,000 to get through the crisis.

“We plan to give any additional raised funds not spent back to the Leilani community where it is needed,” they said in their GoFundMe post.

GoFundMe takes a 2.9 percent processing fee plus 30 cents per donation, according to spokeswoman Kate Cichy, to cover the cost of third-party credit card processors and the secure transfer of funds. She also said both the Kauai flood-related and Hawaii volcano-related campaigns were backed by the GoFundMe guarantee.

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