August 30, 2023 — In response to the wind-driven fires that have caused destruction throughout Hawaii, Gift for Life’s Home vs. Hunger team has launched “Home vs Hunger Helps Hawaii,” a special online fundraising campaign for World Central Kitchen’s crisis-related hunger relief efforts in Maui.
“It’s heart wrenching to get news of a natural disaster and see how badly it has affected everyone in the area,” said Russ Jones, chair of Gift for Life’s Home vs. Hunger team. “Maui residents have lost so much, including businesses, restaurants and homes, and we are mobilizing the home industry to help in this time of extreme need.”
Starting in the early morning hours of August 8, devastating wildfires tore through western Maui and destroyed much of the historic town of Lahaina. As of August 25, more than 115 people have died, nearly 400 people are still unaccounted for, approximately 2,200 structures have been damaged or destroyed, thousands of residents have been displaced and businesses have been demolished. Financial losses are approaching $6 billion, according to national news reports.
World Central Kitchen (WCK) teams are on the ground in Maui working with partners to get much-needed meals to evacuees and emergency workers. In the first two weeks, WCK quickly mobilized to the hardest-hit areas and provided more than 60,000 meals to first responders and families in need. WCK’s response in Hawaii continues to evolve with the situation—and by working with chefs and residents from impacted communities, the organization adjusts efforts to meet the changing needs.
Donations to Home vs. Hunger Helps Hawaii will be accepted through the Fall 2023 High Point Market, Oct. 14-18, 2023, at https://donate.wck.org/HomevsHungerHelpsHawaii.
In partnership with home industry leaders and market makers, Gift for Life debuted its Home vs Hunger initiative at High Point Market in October 2022 and has since raised nearly $50,000 for World Central Kitchen. Gift for Life’s Home vs. Hunger team members include Chris Amos, ANDMORE; Mark Furlet, ANDMORE; Sharon Davis, ART; Jen Dolan, Arteriors; Jenny Heinzen York, Currey & Company; Jonathan Cochran, Eichholtz; Monica Loving, Ivystone; Russ Jones, Ivystone; Douglas Self, J. Douglas; and Sandra Standefer, Loloi Rugs.
“In 2020, Gift for Life designated World Central Kitchen as our primary beneficiary, and since then our board – and our generous industry donors – have carefully followed WCK's work as they heroically respond to disasters of all kinds across the globe,” said Ari Lowenstein, chair of Gift for Life. “The speed and ferocity of the recent fires in Maui left a trail of destruction and despair and WCK responded in record time. With High Point Market approaching, the Home vs. Hunger team saw an opportunity to help the people of Maui and created this special fundraising initiative to directly support WCK's vital work on the ground.”
Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a nonprofit organization that is first to the frontlines providing fresh meals in response to crises, while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions. Applying a model of quick action, leveraging local resources and adapting in real time, WCK has served more than 300 million nourishing meals around the world. When disaster strikes, WCK’s Relief Team mobilizes with the urgency of now to start cooking and serving meals to people in need. By partnering with organizations on the ground and activating a network of local restaurants, food trucks, or emergency kitchens, WCK serves comforting meals to survivors of disasters quickly and effectively. To support regional economies, WCK prioritizes purchasing local ingredients to cook with or distribute directly to families in need. WCK knows that good food provides not only nourishment, but also comfort and hope, especially in times of crisis. Learn more at wck.org. If you’d like to host your own fundraiser for World Central Kitchen, contact a member of the Gift for Life board.
Gift for Life was founded by Peter Schauben of Appleman Schauben in 1992 in response to the tragic loss of industry lives to AIDS. The organization’s first meeting at the National Stationery Show brought together a cross-section of the industry’s leading publishers, market centers, sales reps, manufacturers, and retailers – all willing to convene and work together towards a common goal. Since that time, Gift for Life has raised nearly $6 million for AIDS research, education, treatment and care through nationwide at-market events, cause marketing programs and direct donations. In 2021, with COVID-19 temporarily causing cancelation of in-person events at industry markets, Gift for Life pivoted towards online digital events with a specific emphasis on COVID-related hunger relief. In 2023, the all-volunteer organization will continue to support programs that address hunger relief. More information is available at www.facebook.com/giftforlife.