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Hawai‘i Community Federal Credit Union Staff Spend Statehood Day Volunteering

August 24, 2020, 8:28 AM HST
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Banks and credit unions were shuttered this past Friday in honor of Statehood Day, except for Hawai‘i Community Federal Credit Union.

Statehood Day, Aug. 21, is normally used for staff training at the credit union, however, COVID-19 prevents large groups from meeting in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. Because of this, the credit union CEO decided to stay open during the state holiday and allow a handful of staff to perform a service project for Hope Services at its West Hawai‘i Emergency Housing and Hale Kikaha Permanent Housing Project in Kailua-Kona.

“We’re part of the community,” said Susie Crowe, network coordinator for the credit union. “It’s important to reach out where we can.”

Twenty-six employees spent their morning either washing two vehicles in the nonprofit’s fleet, putting together welcome kits for individuals moving into permanent housing and the remaining volunteers helped prepare lunch for residents at the shelter and anyone who would come to the campus looking for a meal.

“It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but getting into a clean car makes a huge difference,” said Sarah Figueroa, grant writer and community partnership manager with Hope Services.

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Nellie Medeiros, corporate development manager, said the credit union staff nominate a nonprofit they will partner with as part of the company’s triennial program. These past three years, the credit union chose Hope Services as its social responsibility partner.

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“As their partner, they help us with funding and social services projects throughout the year,” Figueroa said.

Funds raised throughout the year by the credit union, Figueroa said, helps Hope Services offset costs not contained in state or county contracts. They also find ways to do service.

“It’s easy to give a check, but hands-on service, there’s no price on that,” Medeiros said Friday.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has not only impacted Hawai‘i’s economy and lifestyle, but it has affected the way people volunteer.

“With COVID, we don’t know how we’ll manage upcoming large events,” Figueroa said. “We had to stop taking volunteer groups.”

When the credit union approached Hope Services about volunteering at their shelter in Kona, Figueroa said they wanted to make it work, adding she knew the credit union wanted to do something meaningful, which is why there were different projects.

Medeiros said it is a little challenging for the credit union to fulfill its commitment to the community.

“A lot of the organizations we support have events that were canceled,” Medeiros said. “It’s making us realize that things can happen in an instant. We just got to come together, be prepared, and be open to change.”

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