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Spam, a staple in Hawaii, is sending 265,000 cans of food to Maui after the wildfires: "We see you and love you."

Wildfire search process could last for months
Hawaii wildfire victim search process could continue for months 04:26

Spam, a beloved staple in Hawaii, is giving back to the state after the devastating wildfires in Maui. As part of the relief effort, Spam's parent company, Hormel Foods, sent more than 265,000 cans of their canned meat products to the island, the company said in a news release Thursday.

Hormel partnered with Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit which helps bring aid to areas affected by natural disasters, to send three truckloads of Spam products so far, with another two following, the company said. Spam's cash and product donations to Hawaii are valued at more than $1 million. 

To help raise money for relief, they are also selling T-shirts that read "SPAM® Brand Loves Maui." The company says 100% of proceeds will be given to Aloha United Way, an organization that raises money for various charities, and their Maui Fire Relief Fund.

Hormel Foods is also helping to raise money for local food banks. 

The fires ravaged Maui last week, destroying the historic town of Lahaina. More than 100 people have been killed and the search for victims is ongoing. 

"The people of Hawaii have a special place in both the history and heart of the SPAM® brand," said Jennesa Kinscher, senior brand manager for Spam. "Our donation efforts are just one way we are showing the community our love and support back."

The company posted about their efforts on Facebook. "To our 'ohana [family] on Maui, we see you and love you. We've been working with our trusted partners on how we can help," they wrote.

We’ve been at a loss for words seeing the devastation that is happening on Maui. To our 'ohana on Maui, we see you and...

Posted by SPAM on Thursday, August 10, 2023

In the past, Hormel Foods has partnered with organizations like Convoy of Hope and World Central Kitchen to help those who are food insecure after natural disasters. But the brand has a strong connection to Hawaii.

The company says the popularity of Spam in Hawaii began in World War II, when the islands were still a territory, because the canned meat was served to U.S. soldiers stationed there during the war. Hawaiians adopted Spam as one of their staple foods, and it is commonly used in a fried rice dish. 

The company says it ships 7 million cans of Spam to the state each year, and its products are "practically the national food" of Hawaii. Spam is served everywhere from convenience stores to fancy restaurants – even McDonald's locations in the state feature meals that incorporate Spam. 

It is unclear exactly what caused the devastating fires and an investigation is underway. Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm, caused dangerous high wind conditions and much of Hawaii was under a red flag due to fire risk caused by dry conditions. The high winds from the storm and low humidity "set the conditions for the wildfires," said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, commander general of the Hawaii Army National Guard.

In Lahaina, more than 2,700 structures have been destroyed, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said. People tried to flee the blaze but many were trapped, some even tried to save themselves by jumping into the water.

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