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Local auto store Island Honda gives over $20,000 to two charities

By Staff | Jun 22, 2017

Jim Woods (left) of Island Honda presents a $10,300 check to Richard Yust of the Maui Food Bank.

KAHULUI – May was a great month for the local auto store Island Honda, but it was also very successful for two local charities: the Maui Food Bank and Make-A-Wish Hawaii. Fifty dollars per car sold (new or used) went to each of the deserving charities.

“We at Team Island Honda are very happy and grateful to be able to have the opportunity to provide these funds,” stated General Manager James Woods.

Island Honda employs 66 local residents in sales, service and support. The dealership is part of Fortune 500 Lithia (NYSE: LAD), one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers.

Earlier this year, Fortune Magazine named Lithia one of the top ten fastest- growing companies among the largest U.S. public corporations for a second year in a row.

The Maui Food Bank serves 10,000 people a month that are food insecure. This includes the working poor, children and youth, seniors, the homeless – anyone who is at risk of going hungry. Maui Food Bank through its network of 100 partner agencies and programs distributes food to the needy in Maui County, including the rural communities of Hana, Molokai and Lanai.

Maui Food Bank Executive Director Richard Yust said, “We serve over 10,000 people a month through our partnering agencies, currently about 126 partner agencies, and quite a few of them are on the West Side, including the Salvation Army, the West Maui shelter.”

“We have the backpack program, which distributes on the West Side as well. So we distribute our backpacks, which go to elementary students, and they get the backpack on Friday so they have it to take home food on the weekend,” he continued.

“We also have pickup and delivery from all the retail stores; Times Supermarket, Safeway and Foodland; hotels on the West Side who support our mission. Our mission is to help the hungry in Maui County by collecting and distributing from our many partners.”

Yust said “… we’re always looking to expand our programs on the West Side, especially because it’s an underserved community. So we are looking to expand our distributions and partner with additional agencies and organizations there on the West Side, so that we make sure nobody goes hungry.”

Make-A-Wish Hawaii grants wishes to children in Hawaii battling life-threatening medical conditions. Many of these wish kids overcome their illnesses and lead long, healthy lives.

Although they are part of the world’s largest wish-granting organization, they operate locally. Monies raised in our state stay in our state. Make-A-Wish Hawaii is 100 percent privately funded, which means that wishes are entirely backed by our community.

James Donnelly from Make-A-Wish Hawaii said, “We love the Maui community, and we have a lot of children here who are actively being treated on Oahu, so most of the families need to fly to Oahu and be on Oahu for treatment.”

“We are definitely looking for either a part-time staff member here that’s able to coordinate with families and look for volunteers here to make Maui wishes easier, smoother, a more joyful situation,” he continued.

“We are really lucky to have partners with airlines and the hotels to help us save as much money as possible, so we have more money to use for the kids. But still it’s a process to fly over early and help set up that site, so we would really like to have somebody on the ground here on Maui just looking out for our kids and families.”

Woods said Island Honda “… wanted the news to get out there, so that if there’s a little bit more attention drawn to these charities, maybe there are some other businesses in the community that can generate some revenue that they might want to consider doing something along the same line – it’s entirely up to them, of course.

“But we want people to know that we care about our business, about cars, but we also care about the island and the people on Maui, and we care about the hungry on the island. And also, Make-A-Wish is a very moving charity,” he concluded.