By Travis Fedschun, ,
Published May 08, 2018
As molten lava spews from the mouth of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano and steadily descends toward the residential neighborhoods below, a Major League Baseball player who grew up on the Big Island is using his star power to help relief efforts.
Kolten Wong, the second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, said his GoFundMe page -- called the "Hawaii Natural Disasters Relief" -- aims to raise $200,000 for families displaced by the eruptions.
Wong also posted a video in which he explained the role played on the Big Island by Pele, the goddess of fire.
"One thing we know as Hawaiian people is that the lava that is coming, that is a part of life," he says in the video. "Natural disasters for us is a part of life. But the Hawaiian way and the way we look at it is that the goddess Pele, who is the creator of lava and the creator of the Hawaiian islands, she is the ruler of all. She decides where she wants to go."
The Hilo-born baseball player still has family on the Big Island, and played for the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“The one thing I know, man, is that I love my people and I’m going to do everything for them,” he said.
As of Tuesday morning, the campaign had raised about $11,000 in 13 hours. In addition to Wong's fundraiser, several other GoFundMe campaigns related to the volcanic eruption are active.
Wong's efforts come as two new cracks in the ground, emitting lava and gas, opened up in a Hawaii community where 35 structures already have burned down. Officials say there are 12 fissures in Leilani Estates, near the town of Pahoa.
Acting Hawaii County Mayor Wil Okabe says it's difficult to tell from aerial surveys how many buildings in the area are homes and how many are other uninhabited structures.
Fox News Barnini Chakraborty in Hawaii contributed to this report.