A Hui Hou Fund set up to help HC&S workers

A fundraising effort developed by Maui residents with the Maui United Way aims to provide emergency relief assistance to Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. workers who will be losing their jobs with the end of sugar operations this year.

The A Hui Hou Fund’s creation was spearheaded by former Council Member Alice Lee. Other members of the steering committee include Ashley Leahey, Carol Reimann, Yuki Lei Sugimura, Warren Watanabe, Saedene Ota, Thelma Akita Kealoha, Makana Rosete, Stephen Kealoha and Laksmi Abraham.

“As members of this community, we care about the health and welfare of all our people, especially in time of hardship or need,” said Lee in a news release. “The efforts of this project will ensure that people displaced by the closure of the sugar plantation will have support through this difficult time and assurance that they are not alone in this transition.”

More than 600 workers will lose their jobs when HC&S ends sugar operations at the end of the year.

The fundraising campaign will generate funds to provide displaced workers with emergency assistance, specifically with rental, mortgage, utility and educational costs.

Abraham, president of Maui United Way, noted that HC&S and its employees have supported Maui United Way since the 1940s and are believed to be the longest standing contributors. In the last 15 years, HC&S workers have contributed more than $765,000 to the Maui United Way.

“These companies have provided a legacy of giving that will never be forgotten and has likely impacted millions of local lives for the better over the last 70 years,” said Abraham. “The A Hui Hou Fund represents our appreciation for their continued support to Maui’s community and an opportunity to return our support in their time of need.”

To aid the fundraising effort, the A Hui Hou Steering Committee will be selling commemorative T-shirts, hats, magnets and stickers. These items currently are available at Maui Thing and Maui County Federal Credit Union and will be sold at Wailuku First Friday.

For a list of locations to buy these items, to volunteer a location to sell items or to make a contribution to the A Hui Hou Fund, go to www.mauiunitedway.org.

Maui United Way will be accepting applications for emergency assistance from displaced sugar workers through the same website beginning July 1. For more information, contact Rosete at 244-8787.