Maui Business

Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate Donates More than $100,000 in Sweets and Proceeds During Pandemic

February 8, 2021, 12:27 PM HST
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  • Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate has donated proceeds of its sales and tastings to the Maui Food Bank and other local charities. Photo Courtesy: Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate
  • Photo Courtesy: Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate
  • Photo Courtesy: Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate
  • Photo Courtesy: Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate company of Lahaina has donated sweets to first responders and people sheltering in place across the country, and contributed sales proceeds to the Maui Food Bank and other nonprofits, according to a news release.

CEO Gunars Valkirs founded the farm-to-bar chocolate company in 2015 with the commitment to donate 100 percent of net profits back to island nonprofit organizations.

When the pandemic first shut down businesses on Maui in March 2020, the chocolate company donated sweets to first responders and front-line workers at all of the islands’ hospitals.

The company also gave away $50,000 in chocolate with its “Shelter in Place Giveaways.” People from across the country were invited to sign up for a free box of chocolate, if they paid for shipping.

Maui Ku‘ia Estate Chocolate also designed virtual chocolate tastings, offering specific products and donating a portion of sales to the Maui Food Bank. When the factory was able to reopen, Saturday chocolate tastings were devoted solely to the Maui Food Bank. From June to December 2020, the chocolate company raised more than $35,200 for the Maui Food Bank. The company also held a food collection for the food bank.

The company’s newest effort is called Chocolate Laulima, meaning “many hands working together.” Valkirs developed the program as a way for both the chocolate factory and Maui nonprofits to benefit, in spite of the limitations imposed by the pandemic.

Through Chocolate Laulima, supporters to Hawai‘i nonprofits can go to the company’s website and order bags of chocolate, with 40 percent of proceeds donated to the charity of their choice. Since its inception in September 2020, more than $17,500 has been raised for the program that has rapidly expanded to serve 34 nonprofits.

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