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Sentry donates $250K to food bank

Maui Food Bank Executive Director Richard Yust poses with a check for $250,000 donated by the Sentry Insurance Foundation this week. — CAROLYN SCHAMBERGER/SENTRY INSURANCE photo

The Sentry Insurance Foundation announced a $250,000 donation to the Maui Food Bank on Tuesday.

The donation came in conjunction with the 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions golf tournament that is set to play Thursday through Sunday at the Kapalua Plantation Course.

“The pandemic has been particularly devastating to Maui’s economy,” Pete McPartland, Sentry chairman of the board, president and CEO, said in a news release. “Unemployment rates here have been some of the highest in the nation. We wanted to help in a meaningful way — supporting Maui County families and local businesses.”

The Maui Food Bank is the county’s primary safety net for hunger relief and is currently serving more than 10,000 people each week with emergency food distributions.

Not only does the Maui Food Bank directly serve members of the community, but it also supports local businesses by purchasing food from local farmers, markets, bakeries, and other businesses.

“We’re currently experiencing an extremely high unemployment rate in Maui and the surrounding areas, which in turn leads to many residents needing meal support,” Richard Yust, executive director of the Maui Food Bank, said in the release. “We couldn’t be more grateful for Sentry’s donation as it will help us continue to sustain our community through these challenging times.”

Yust said Tuesday’s donation will provide more than 200,000 meals to those in need in Maui County.

The donation will be used to support the food bank’s emergency food box distributions across the area to help with hunger and other basic needs.

Simone Oliveira, owner and operator of SFO Vacation Condo Cleaning, appeared in a virtual news conference with her husband Eduardo and son Edward, a sophomore at St. Anthony High School and a food bank volunteer.

“We all know Maui Food Bank and how much they do to help our families in need,” Simone Oliveira said. “We all help because that’s what we do as a community until you see yourself as a family in need.”

She explained that she and her husband have a small business on Maui that was “very successful” before the pandemic.

“But after seven months without working we went from being Maui Food (Bank) donors to food recipients. . . . Before the pandemic, Maui Food Bank used to donate 10,000 meals a month; now it is more than 40,000 meals a month, so donating right now is so important,” she added.

The Sentry Insurance Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Sentry. The 2020 Sentry TOC raised more than $459,000 for an array of local charities, bringing the total that Sentry has helped raise to more than $909,000.

In May, the foundation also donated $200,000 to the Maui United Way as part of a $1.07 million commitment to coronavirus relief support across the country.

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