In early August 2023, a series of wildfires broke out on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The wind-driven fires prompted evacuations, caused widespread damage, killed at least 115 people, and left dozens of others missing.
Facing a clean water shortage in Lahaina and upper Kula, shelters and other emergency housing centers actively requested bottled water to provide a safe and accessible source of hydration for the thousands of people displaced by the devastating fires. To support this effort, The Wonderful Company's Hawaii and California employees quickly coordinated a response to address this dire community need.
By September 13, FIJI Water had donated over 1,400 cases to the Maui Food Bank through their connection with the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. It took less than one week from receiving the donation request to get this much-needed water to Maui for distribution. FIJI Water’s partners at the Los Angeles warehouse and port drayage also donated their time to ensure the water got to Maui as soon as possible.
FIJI Water’s regional manager, Jason Clifford, joined the in-person volunteer efforts in Maui to help distribute clean water, food, clothes, and household goods. Following his visit, Jason shared:
Bottled water in Maui is a vital resource during emergencies. Having the opportunity to support the people of Maui was and is a special experience.
Regional Manager, FIJI Water
After the more well-known fire in Lahaina had been extinguished, Jason also went to Kula, which still had active fires. Jason volunteered at the “Upcountry Relief” area to distribute bottled water, food, and goods, where he also saw coordinated teams with chain saws and wood chippers clear out areas that had already finished burning, as well as nurses providing breathing treatments to people that were having issues from smoke inhalation – further demonstrating the serious impact of the fires and the need for community support.
FIJI Water’s relationship with the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, which had developed over the last few years, was critical to providing the brand with the manpower and connection it needed to properly distribute the water within the community. Jason highlighted that the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival has always been supportive of FIJI Water’s mission, just as the brand has continued to support the organization’s dedication to the island community.