Paying Employees To Volunteer

By Michele Saito
Wednesday - September 15, 2010
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By Michele Saito
President of Farmers Insurance Hawaii

Farmers Insurance Hawaii has had the privilege of being a part of Hawaii for 55 years, and we believe it’s our kuleana to give back to the community in which we all work and live. Community service is more than what we do, it is part of who we are. It’s our mission to partner with the community to serve and support our friends and neighbors in need to help make Hawaii a better place to live.

To propagate giving back to the community, we encourage our employees to volunteer and contribute to various nonprofit organizations by providing them with 7.5 hours of paid time off each year to participate in community service work. Since 2009, 78 percent of our employees volunteered more than 1,800 hours for community service projects throughout the state.

One of the community’s needs that is dear to our hearts is helping to feed Hawaii’s hungry. There are 183,500 people in Hawaii - more than 14 percent of the population - who receive emergency food assistance through the Hawaii Foodbank network. This is a 39 percent increase from four years ago. And 55,000 of those receiving food assistance are our keiki. With the down economy, families are having trouble putting food on the table, and many organizations are struggling to try to meet the growing need for help.

We believe the statistics for Hawaii’s hungry are unacceptable, and we must join together to make a difference. That’s why for the third year in a row, in conjunction with National Hunger Action Month, Farmers Insurance Hawaii will hold a community-wide “Drive Out Hunger in Hawaii” campaign to raise awareness about hunger in

Martin Mederios, Nancy Wong, Melanie Joseph and Monique Pascual

Hawaii and to support three organizations that feed Hawaii’s hungry: Hawaii Foodbank, Lanakila Meals on Wheels and River of Life Mission. We and our community partners, Boy Scouts, UH Athletics Department, Lex Brodie’s and Napa Auto Parts, will be collecting non-perishable food and monetary donations through Sept. 30. In addition to the food and monetary drive, we encourage the public to get involved in volunteer efforts at the organizations alongside our employees. We believe giving of oneself through volunteering is meaningful, impactful and rewarding.

Together, we can Drive Out Hunger in Hawaii!

For details about the drive and volunteer opportunities, please visit our website at


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