CHICAGO — Food and other critical supplies are headed from the Chicago area to Hawaii to help those affected by the wildfires in Maui.

Special cargo was loaded Wednesday for a United Airlines flight at O’Hare International Airport, which included 24,000 pounds of packages of various much-needed supplies, such as baby formula and toiletries.

The donation stemmed from a request from Kings Catherdral Church in Hawaii.

“It’s just the start for us,” said Omar Idris, the vice president of United Airlines at O’Hare. “Happy to support everything we can to a very special place for us.”

Idris told WGN News the company has also helped transport more than 12,000 people back to the US mainland since the tragedy struck. 

“We’ve also done everything we can to keep fares minimum so people can get off the island if needed,” Idris said. 

Various efforts remain underway across the state of Illinois to help locals in Maui deal with the disaster. 

The Northern Illinois Food Bank loaded up more than 21,000 meals Wednesday morning, packed earlier in the year by Aldi and sent off to an Amazon truck bound for Irving, California.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Julie Yurko, president and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank. “We see so often the everyday disaster of hunger, people who don’t have enough to eat, and then you see something as horrific as what happened in Maui, where people have lost everything. And we know they need some nourishment for their bodies, some hope for their souls, and so we’re hoping to give that to them with some disaster boxes.”