QCD Hawaii Team Supports Maui Wildfire Victims
On August 8, wildfires swept across the Hawaiian island of Maui, causing nearly 100 fatalities and making it one of America’s worst disasters. Many people remain missing today, as Maui residents, business owners, and community organizations grapple with the daunting repair and recovery needs of approximately 2,200 damaged or destroyed structures. This includes providing shelter, food, and various support services to more than 7,000 displaced Maui residents now and for the foreseeable future during the widespread and challenging rebuilding efforts ahead.
“This was the most devastating catastrophe in my time on the islands,” said Carl Guhl, the Regional Distribution Manager based at QCD’s facility in Waipahu on the island of Oahu. “The loss of life and property was dreadfully immense in such a short period of time. My heart and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy or those whose lives changed for the worse on that August day.”
With QCD associates and their extended families, as well as customers and their stores located throughout the Hawaiian Islands, the Waipahu team has stepped up to proactively support the wildfire victims. The local GSF Foundation (GSFF) Assistant Chair, Mike Moreno, and his wife, Cyndi, have spearheaded donation drives that resulted in more than 15 pallets of clothing, food and personal care items collected, sorted, and sent to Maui.
Supporting Maui Food Bank, the GSFF Waipahu Committee made a $1,600 grant in early August as first responders reacting quickly to the wildfire crisis. Additionally, the Waipahu team purchased shelf-stable food and two pallets of water with GSFF local funds contributed by Hawaii associates and from donated funds raised from GSF associates beyond
“I am encouraged by the many people on the mainland who reached out sending their prayers, GSFF donations, and positive energy,” said Carl. “I am amazed by the massive amount of local Hawaiian people’s support to try and help Maui out in their time of need. We are truly blessed to have our QCD/GSF Hawaii team members on all four islands who maintained the business continuity during this tough time and who worked hard to support Maui in the days after the fires. Mahalo to all of you!”
From community support to customer service delivery, all Hawaii associates have actively lent a helping hand since the wildfires ravaged Maui last month. The team collaborated with customers and community partners in figuring out where to re-direct stranded perishable Starbucks products like milk and frozen foods, whether delivering it to alternate stores or routing it to the food bank or shelters. QCD successfully delivered on the extra logistics efforts required for both McDonald’s and Starbucks to maintain operations and business continuity, along with the customers’ donations for Maui relief.
“BIG MAHALO to everyone for contributing to Maui,” said QCD’s lead driver on Maui, Victor Kamai, in an August 21 email to GSF colleagues. “It is heartwarming seeing all this help coming, but also heartbreaking knowing why it is happening.”
Maui-born-and-raised, Victor has not only seen first-hand the devastation on the island where he grew up, but also has recently served as a key volunteer in coordinating QCD’s donation distributions to neighbors in need on Maui. He shared that firefighters from neighboring islands came on their own to help out at donation sites, where cars lined up to donate items and to receive assistance. During one donation delivery, Victor witnessed a church pastor graciously handing out items to families in need, only to learn later that the wildfire destroyed the pastor’s own home. He also observed that volunteers at the donation sites seemed overwhelmed and drained with so much going on.
For all involved, the much-needed support from QCD and GSFF goes a long way in making a difference for the Maui wildfire victims. As relief and recovery efforts continue, ongoing contributions may be made online at GSFFoundation.org/support-us with “Maui Support” noted in the comments section of the donation form.