An army runs on its stomach, and in the wake of the devastating Lahaina wildfire disaster, a dedicated army of first responders has received this much-needed support from Maui food truck operators.
Among them is Sparky's Food Company, a local business founded by Duke and Natasha Sparks. They served more than 10,000 meals to disaster victims and first responders in just the first two days of providing food to hungry first responders and fire victims.
The Lahaina wildfire killed nearly 100 people and left dozens missing. The inferno destroyed more than 2,200 structures, including hundreds of homes in working-class neighborhoods.
In response to this crisis, Sparky's Food Company has stepped up to provide not only nourishment but also a glimmer of hope in the midst of adversity.
Sparky's Food Company has provided direly needed support for the Lahaina community. The Sparks’ generous efforts have not gone unnoticed. They've received more than $1 million worth of product donations and have personally covered $100,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.
"We've always believed that our 'ohana extends beyond blood ties, and it's deeply ingrained in our culture to share a meal and provide for our community," said Duke Sparks, a Native Hawaiian and co-founder of Sparky's Food Company. "Our first responders are not just our frontline heroes; they are also our cherished family and friends, fearlessly risking their lives."
Sparky's Food Company is one of several food trucks collaborating with the Ludacris Foundation on the "Maui County First Responders Feeding Program Fund." This initiative aims to provide food support to Maui's dedicated first responders, including firefighters, ocean safety officers, police officers, and paramedics who have been working tirelessly to aid the community during this disaster.
Duke Sparks added: "Offering a hot meal is our heartfelt way of expressing gratitude, extending support, and sharing aloha with those who have given so much. With generous support from the community and donors like the Ludacris Fund, we can continue to make a greater impact in our community."
The Ludacris Foundation, co-founded by Ludacris and Robert Shields, expressed their heartfelt appreciation to all donors and supporters joining in their mission to uplift and strengthen the Maui community during these challenging times.
The Sparks also extended a warm mahalo to various local businesses and individuals who have rallied together to support Sparky's Food Company and overall relief efforts. Notable contributors include Shaka Detailing, SI&I Rentals, Jacky & Shaynee Tu, Maui Food Technology Center, Bhaulin, Sunbelt Rentals, and the Maui and Neighbor Island communities, whose generous donations have made a significant difference.
Duke and Natasha began their journey with Sparky's Food Company, naming it after Duke's father, who was affectionately known as "Sparky." Their passion for family food traditions became the foundation for their business, starting with the signature guava-smoked meat and "Mom's Noodle Mac Salad."
Initially delivering plate lunches to local businesses, the couple quickly got involved with supporting in the community, participating in events such as First & Fourth Sunday. Their journey led to the establishment of a food trailer and subsequent expansion, now having three locations, including a restaurant at the Wakea Business Center in Kahului. For in-person dining, the address is 385 Ho`ohana St., Building SC.
In addition to their culinary ventures, Duke and Natasha have sought to promote Oelo Hawaii, the Hawaiian language. They’ve collaborated with Kumu Luana Kawaa of the Morning Manao Podcast and musician Kamalei Kawa`a for a Paina Olelo Night, a cultural and gastronomic experience.
"We served a set prix fixe menu that included fresh poke, authentic Hawaiian food, and the Signature Sparky's Coconut cake," Duke said. "Everybody had ‘olelo Hawaii learning materials created by Kumu Luana Kawaa specifically for the evening."
February 22, 2024