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24,000 pounds of supplies makes its way from Chicago to help Maui wildfire victims

Thousands of pounds of food, supplies heads from Chicago to help Maui wildfire victims
Thousands of pounds of food, supplies heads from Chicago to help Maui wildfire victims 02:02

CHICAGO (CBS) – Federal workers and outside groups are helping those in Hawaii massively impacted by wildfires.

CBS News learned President Joe Biden will be heading to Hawaii on Monday to see the damage, meet with survivors and survey the government's response.

Meanwhile, there's a relief effort underway for Hawaiian wildfire victims in the Chicago area. CBS 2's Noel Brennan went out to O'Hare International Airport to get the details.

Help is on the way from Chicago. CBS 2 watched from the tarmac at O'Hare as the United 777 was packed full of supplies to help people impacted by a wildfire in Maui.

Pallets were loaded onto the plane Wednesday afternoon. On each pallet were boxes full of supplies like baby formula, canned food, socks, hygiene kits, and more – care packages that people in Maui desperately need. Organizers said all the food is easy to eat, easy to prepare, shelf-stable, and therefore easily accessible for those in need.

"Five, six weeks ago, we were shipping these boxes down to central Illinois because of the flooding," said Julie Yurko, president and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Yurko said when she sees the images coming out of Maui, "It breaks my heart."

24,000 pounds of supplies makes its way from Chicago to help Maui wildfire victims 01:51

Everything comes from Convoy of Hope, a faith-based humanitarian organization. They connected with a church on the ground in Maui and collected supplies that were specifically requested.

United is providing the fight, working with its nonprofit partner, Airlink, and SEKO Logistics to make it happen.

All told it was about 24,000 pounds o help headed to Hawaii.

"We've been flying to the Hawaiian islands for over 75 years," said Omar Idris, vice president of United Airlines O'Hare hub. "United has a deep commitment and responsibility to the islands. We have a saying that good leads the way, and part of that good leading the way is leading and taking the responsibility of getting out in front of things and helping where we can."

The plane was still a passenger flight and was scheduled to make a stop in Denver before heading to Maui where the precious cargo will be unloaded.

"Given the scale of the disaster in Maui, I know this is one small part of the response," said Yurko.

If you want to donate to help those affected by the fires, here are some ways to do so:

The American Red Cross

Disaster workers from the American Red Cross are in Maui, "working around the clock to help those affected," the group says. To donate, visit, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Hawai'i Community Foundation

The Hawai'i Community Foundation is accepting donations through its Maui Strong Fund. The foundation has already raised $1 million to help fire victims, Hawaii News Now reports. To donate, visit the fund's website. For questions or additional information, please contact Donor Services at or (808) 566-5560.

Maui United Way

Maui United Way, founded in 1945, works to address Maui's vital needs by focusing on education, income and health. The organization has set up a Maui Fire and Disaster Relief Donations Page. All donations are processed online.

Maui Food Bank

Maui Food Bank provides "safe and nutritious food" to anyone in Maui County who is at risk of going hungry, the organization says. Maui Food Bank also donates food to disaster relief efforts on the island. "With every $1 donated, the Maui Food Bank can provide 4 meals to the hungry living in our island community," the food bank pledges. To donate, visit the food bank's website.

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