Guy Fieri Foundation donates $1.2M to Lahaina restaurant workers impacted by wildfires
Celebrated chef and TV personality Guy Fieri teamed up with the Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association, American Savings Bank and Fiserv, Inc., to distribute $600 prepaid debit cards to Lahaina restaurant workers who lost their job when their workplace was destroyed in the tragic wildfires on Aug. 8.
With many residents still struggling to purchase everyday essentials, such as food and medication, this gift provides much-needed assistance to Lahaina restaurant workers who have lost so much.
The HRA has spent the last few weeks reaching out to affected Lahaina restaurant owners whose businesses were destroyed by the fire. So far, HRA has been in contact with about 70 restaurant owners, who are scheduled to pick up the cards for their employees at ASB’s Kahului Branch through the end of the week.
Lahaina restaurant owners who have not yet been in contact with the HRA should email [email protected] or call 808-944-9105 for more information on the prepaid debit card program and next steps. Restaurant owners must contact the HRA before picking up their employees’ cards.
As a chef and foodie, Fieri has established a special connection with Maui and has showcased many of the island’s restaurants on his various television shows. Fieri has dedicated his life to supporting the culinary industry, and when he heard about the devastation from the fires on Maui restaurant workers, he sprang into action.
Fieri organized “Chefs for Maui,” a dinner in Sonoma, California, which drew support from 38 award-winning chefs, celebrity friends, foodies and world-renowned restauranteurs. The sold-out event raised over $1.5 million, which was donated to the HRA and Salvation Army Hawaiʻi. A portion of those proceeds went toward purchasing these prepaid debit cards for Maui restaurant workers.
“Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association is pleased to partner with the Guy Fieri Foundation, American Savings Bank and Fiserv to provide this support to workers employed at the restaurants destroyed in the Lahaina wildfires,” said Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director at HRA. “As we worked over the last several months to contact those affected, we heard many stories of heartbreak, tragedy and loss. Yet, we also heard stories of hope and resilience.”
“We are honored to collaborate with the Guy Fieri Foundation, as well as American Savings Bank and Fiserv, in this meaningful endeavor to, once again, support our foodservice community,” said Matsuoka.
To ensure donations from the Guy Fieri Foundation directly benefit impacted restaurant workers, ASB and Fiserv waived all fees related to the production, distribution and management of the cards.
“American Savings Bank is committed to supporting the individuals, families and businesses on Maui as the community heals and rebuilds in the aftermath of the devastating wildfires,” said Ann Teranishi, president and CEO at American Savings Bank. “We hope the generosity demonstrated by the Guy Fieri Foundation will inspire others to join in and support the Maui community.”
“We’re proud to help bring to life initiatives that benefit small businesses, their workers, and the communities they serve,” said Jose Garcia, senior vice president at Fiserv. “The need for everyday essentials never stops, and with a fee-free prepaid card, people will have a convenient way to access these donations to make day-to-day purchases.”