Saturday, November 28, 2015         

Giving Back: Isle Firms Find Community Service Is All In A Day's Work

Photos by Krystle Marcellus / kmarcellus@staradvertiser.comShelly "Sparky" Souza, a five-year employee of Simply Ono, prepares a plate lunch. At top, Cora Stevens, left, and Harris Sukita, co-owners of Simply Ono, and Souza pose with their lunch wagon in Kalihi. Chopping an onion, washing dishes and operating a cash register are job tasks at Simply Ono, a mobile food business. But those tasks also are a form of corporate giving for the catering and lunch wagon operator on Oahu. Story »

Ryan Li, 6, of Hawaii Kai, enjoyed a 99-cent Big Mac with his mother, Rochelle, at the Hawaii Kai McDonald's grand reopening on July 4. The restaurant had been closed for renovations. The reopening event, below, raised funds for the Rotary Club of Hawaii Kai and Kaiser High School. The most high-profile aspect of corporate giving by McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii Inc. is likely its support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii, or RMHC-Hawaii, but the quick-service restaurant chain also is a major sponsor of many other Hawaii nonprofit fundraising efforts. Story »

Kekoa, a hefty carpenter who stands 6-foot-1, broke his back when a wall form fell on him five years ago. "Everything started going downhill from there," he recalled softly. "I lost a lot of things, my house, my cars.  Story »

Saipele Siatini, a housekeeping employee at Aqua Wave Hotel and a former inmate, folds towels in his work area. Saipele is a member of Free Inside Prison Ministry and has received support from Bulla and Lynette Eastman through his employment with the hotel. Every time Aqua Waikiki Wave housekeeper Saipele Siatini picks up a mop, he sings religious praise songs thanking God for the job that has given him the opportunity to start cleaning up his life. Story »

Palolo Elementary School teacher Jodean Wong gave a tour of the third-grade class' vermiculture garden in November. More than 70 Prudential Locations employees volunteered to complete beautification projects and sustainability gardens on the campus. The school also was the first to receive a grant of $25,000 from The Locations Foundation for a science lab. A real estate firm with heart. That's how employees describe Prudential Locations, Hawaii's largest locally owned real estate firm. Story »

About 20 Hawaii Medical Service Association managers served food to employees, left, at the annual employee fundraising breakfast in June. Managers also waited tables, bottom left. Below, HMSA CEO Mike Gold, right, led a Zumba workout during the fundraiser, at which employees tipped their bosses, raising more than $7,000 for Aloha United Way. Hawaii Medical Service Association employees cheered and chanted for Mike Gold to begin dancing as they opened their pocketbooks to entice their chief executive to perform. Story »

Waikiki Park Hotel General Manager Julie Arigo and Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Association President and CEO George D. Szigeti posed with Halekulani Hotel employees who participated in the Visitor Industry Charity Walk on May 18. For Kevin Donnelly the statewide Visitor Industry Charity Walk has always been a passion. Now this festive philanthropic event — which combines exercise with eating and entertainment — is also a labor of love. Story »

@Caption1:Sheryl Siu, director of retail operations at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, gives golf tips to Make-a-Wish kid Kourtney Bogacz, 11, at the driving range at the Ala Wai Golf Course. Watching Bogacz line up the club are her mother, Amy Goodson, left, and cousin Brycen,7. Recording a rap music video, visiting the Taj Mahal, conducting Beethoven's Ninth for the Berlin Philharmonic — when 200 golfers Swing for Wishes at the Hawaii Prince Golf Club, they're helping to fulfill the dreams of local kids who've been diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions. Story »

@Caption1:Benjamin and Sharon Chow, owners of the three Sanrio Surprises stores on Oahu, design and sell Hello Kitty T-shirts with the Hawaiian Humane Society logo as a fundraiser for the organization. Sharon Chow is shown in the Kahala Mall store wearing the first T-shirt her company designed for the Humane Society. A love of animals inspired the owners of Sanrio Surprises, a boutique specialty store in Hawaii that's synonymous with the iconic Hello Kitty brand, to become generous supporters of the Hawaiian Humane Society.  Story »

Hawaiian Electric Industries employees and their families spent a recent Saturday at Ka'ala Farm in Wai­anae, clearing the farm's taro patches among other tasks. HEI also presented a $50,000 check to the farm on behalf of Hawaiian Electric Co. Hawaiian Electric Industries' commitment to be a "good corporate citizen" has grown in recent years to include a greater focus on tracking the results of its charitable giving and increased participation by its employees in community events. Story »

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has expanded its school sports tournament lineup to 43 championships. Since 2001 the association has introduced state championships in four sports (cheerleading, paddling, judo and water polo) and added nine Division II tournaments. The Kalaheo Mustang varsity boys paddling team paddled its way to victory in the finals heat in 2008. For all he achieved in a barrier-shattering athletic career, a distinction that eluded Wally Yona­mine inspired one of his most enduring investments. Story »

The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation has given grants to both community organizations and schools in the area. Ethan Rau volunteers at taro fields at Kako'o 'Oiwi, a recipient of a Castle grant. Part of the foundation's mission also is to restore nearshore marine ecosystems and strengthen Windward Oahu communities. Volunteers remove invasive algae from Kaneohe Bay, below. On the Windward side of Oahu, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation is pretty much a household name. Community organizations and schools in the area, both big and small, have received grants from the largest private foundation based in Hawaii at one time or another through the decades. Story »

The American Diabetes Association's next Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes takes place in March. Local efforts are already underway to recruit businesses to help by donating time and money. The Hawaii branch of the American Diabetes Association has a new face for corporate recruitment: Howard Lee, president of insurance company University Health Alliance.  Story »

PRG - Volunteers and Kahala Nui residents Eunice Sueoka, left, and Aileen Tom package dishes of bamboo chicken during meal prep for Meals on Wheels at Kahala Nui Assisted Living in Kahala on Monday, July 15, 2013.  (Jamm Aquino/The Honolulu Star-Advertiser). Hawaii Meals on Wheels supports a demographic that is often overlooked, isolated and forgotten. Making, packaging and distributing meals to Hawaii's seniors and disabled is no easy task, but it is one that some local businesses have integrated into their company's credo. Story »

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