No meetings for Beneficial volunteers in ‘Ele’ele

‘ELE’ELE — Jen Miguel was noting that she was the only girl on the project, but there was still a lot of work for her to do last week.

About 15 volunteers from Beneficial Finance Co. from off-island joined three of the Kaua’i representatives of Beneficial to spend a day volunteering at the Kauai Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Ele’ele housing project.

“This isn’t about something to do after meetings,” said Bryan Anderson, a Beneficial representative from O’ahu. “We came here just to do this.”

Additionally, Anderson explained that the owners of Beneficial Finance, Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corp. (HSBC), are committed to those in the communities where they live and do business, and has a fund to match collections done by employees for projects such as these.

Annette Creamer, executive director of Kauai Habitat for Humanity, said the Beneficial volunteers collected $1,000 prior to arriving here. Combined with the HSBC matching funds, the group’s members presented Creamer with $2,000 in addition to a full day’s work from the volunteers, who came from O’ahu, Maui, and the Big Island.

“HSBC is committed to the community, and projects like this allow us to give back to places where we live,” Anderson said.

Anderson noted, too, that one of the branch managers, Quentin “Q” Flores, served at the Kaua’i branch office at Kukui Grove Center for a while.

Additionally, the manager of the Waipahu branch has relatives who got their home through a Habitat for Humanity program, he explained.

Anderson joined Maui branch manager Scott Fleetham and Shawn Boeckman in physical labor, as Fleetham manned a jackhammer to break through the red dirt for concrete blocks which will form the foundation for another house.

This environment was a far cry from the airconditioned offices the bankers are accustomed to, and beads of perspiration were common among the group members.

Robert McNamara, Habitat’s construction manager, kept encouraging his volunteers. “Don’t worry, she’s on her way with water. It should be here in a few minutes.”

The Beneficial Finance volunteer crews do a project once a quarter, Anderson said. Their next community project is scheduled for O’ahu on March 25.

Henry Durati, the Kaua’i branch manager for Beneficial Finance, was joined by his staff members, Ken Rosa, and Miguel, for the project.

Creamer, making a delivery of snack items as well as checking on the volunteers, noted that members of a team from the Global Village arrived on Kaua’i on Saturday, and are working at the project site through Christmas Day, this Sunday, Dec. 25, before leaving.

Catherine Shiningstar, the volunteer coordinator for Kauai Habitat for Humanity, said that this group’s members have some evening and night work scheduled, so they can work alongside the homeowners.

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