FedEx employees visiting the island for a corporate meeting created 500 emergency kits for Child and Family Service Monday at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii.
About 100 employees took time from their trip to fill purple, reusable bags bearing the FedEx logo with shampoo, towels, toothbrushes and other personal care items that will be used at domestic abuse shelters in Kona and Hilo.
The total cost of the kits was $5,000. They are part of a larger effort to support communities nationwide, said FedEx Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kim Dixon. The company has made a commitment to offer 40,000 volunteer hours this year, and 4,000 emergency kits will be distributed throughout the country. This year marks the company’s 40th anniversary and also the 40th year it has partnered with United Way, said Dixon.
When FedEx decided to incorporate volunteerism into the Hawaii incentive trip for FedEx store managers and salespeople, the company contacted Hawaii Island United Way, an umbrella organization that supports programs operated by 42 partner nonprofits, including Child & Family Service.
Heidemarie Kopp, director of Hawaii Child & Family Service, said the kits come during Domestic Violence Awareness month and will meet a high-priority need.
“We use them all the time,” she said.
The organization also needs donations of pillows, blankets and food. Survivors of domestic violence spend between 5,000 and 6,000 bed days each year in the Kona shelter alone, said Kopp. Those who would like to donate to Child & Family Service may call 323-2664.
“We are grateful to all of our donors, especially something like this that really raises awareness and offers support to our community,” said Kopp.
FedEx employee Kyle Theis was grateful for the opportunity to create emergency kits that will help those in need. He is visiting from Raleigh, N.C., with his wife, Ashley, and the couple plans to spend three days touring the island after the company convention comes to a close.
“We’re here to help out a lot of people who don’t have an opportunity like this,” said Theis. “I think it’s great we can be here and give back to the local community.”
Bringing people together to strengthen the community is at the heart of the Hawaii Island United Way mission, to unite people, organizations and resources to build a healthier community. Hawaii Island United Way president Jeanine Atebara said the organization’s goal is to raise $1.2 million during its annual campaign, which is now underway. With 185,000 residents on the island, each would need to give $6.50 — the cost of a mini plate lunch — to help the umbrella organization reach its goal.
“It’s not a few people giving a lot, it’s everyone giving a little, giving what they can,” she said.
Hawaii Island United Way does not receive government support, and most donations come through workplace giving and from individuals, she said.
“Hawaii Island United Way is here because the community supports us,” said Atebara.
Those who would like more information about Hawaii Island United Way may call 935-6393.