Heroes and helpers bring holiday cheer

Hawaiian Electric
3 min readDec 23, 2023

by Robert Yang | Dec. 23, 2023

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I always notice two things about Hawaiian Electric’s employees during the holiday season — their cheerful spirit and generosity. Whether it’s coordinating toy and food drives in their communities or making donations and volunteering for charity events, giving back is an important holiday tradition for our employees. One event that we have supported yearly for the past six years on Hawaii Island is “Heroes and Helpers.”

Formerly known as “Shop with a Cop (2015–2020),” Heroes and Helpers is an event where children from struggling families are paired with first responders or ‘heroes’ at Target. Each child is presented with a $100 gift card to go on the most memorable shopping spree of their lives! Volunteers or “helpers” work on the floor to ensure the shopping experience is fun, immersive and smooth.

The special event brings much needed joy to teens and young children during the holidays, while fostering positive relationships between the youth and first responders.

This year’s event was the largest to date. It was held on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at the Target in Hilo. Our employees joined volunteers from the Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii Fire Department, Hawaii Air National Guard, Hawaii Army National Guard and other local agencies to create an exciting morning for 96 keiki across the Hilo to Kau districts.

Dave Kurohara, Hawaii Island business and community consultant, recruits Hawaiian Electric helpers for the event every year. He also serves as Chair for Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Leadership Council on Hawaii Island, an organization that provides guidance and opportunities for volunteerism to young keiki. The nonprofit has been a main sponsor of the event since 2015.

“It’s important that our employees be good stewards to community events such as this,” Dave said. His passion for serving his community has inspired many of his coworkers to do the same. Employees started volunteering in 2017 as gift wrappers. “Watching the children’s face light up when they get the gift they’ve always wanted but didn’t think they could afford. It’s heartwarming for everyone.”

Heroes and Helpers has concluded, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a good elf. If you wish to brighten a kid’s day during the holiday season, feel free to donate gifts or funds by going to Catholic Charities Hawaii’s website.

Robert Yang is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric Company.

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Hawaiian Electric

Established in 1891, Hawaiian Electric is committed to empowering its customers and communities by providing affordable, reliable, clean and sustainable energy.