Taking the day off to give back
If you passed by any of the Keller Williams Realty Maui offices on Thursday, May 13, you may have noticed near-empty parking lots, darkened windows or “closed” signs hanging on the front doors.
No, these agents weren’t playing hooky from work. To the contrary, they spent the day giving back to the community through coordinated service projects.
Yes, that’s service projects plural.
May 13 was Keller Williams’ annual Renew, Energize and Donate Day, acronymically known as RED Day. Introduced in 2009 with the tagline “give where you live,” RED Day is a global day of service held every year on the second Thursday of May to celebrate the birthday of Keller Williams’ Vice President Mo Anderson. Every year, without fail, Keller Williams agents in the U.S., Canada and abroad set aside an entire day to “renew, energize and donate” within their respective communities. “We close our offices to focus on giving back,” explained Stacey Vinoray, director of agent relations and co-team leader at Keller Williams Realty Maui.
On Maui, RED Day volunteers have held food drives for the Maui Food Bank, donated protective masks to local health care workers, volunteered for the Coral Reef Alliance and spruced up the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui Central Clubhouse, among other things.
This year, close to 80 Keller Williams Realty Maui agents took part in multiple RED Day service projects at different locations. “We decided to spread it out so we could do more good,” Vinoray said.
The day began bright and early at the Maui Food Bank warehouse in Kahului, where the red shirt-clad volunteers spent the morning sorting canned goods and prepping and packing 480 boxes of food to be distributed to residents need. After that, they met up with Keller Williams Realty Maui Realtor-Salesperson Jonathan Yudis, who helps feed Maui’s hungry and homeless through “Charity Pizzas,” a community service project he started in 2016. For several hours, the volunteers hand-delivered hot, fresh pizza slices to unsheltered residents in Kihei, Paia, Kahului Harbor and Kanaha Beach Park.
And the day didn’t end there. That afternoon, several Keller Williams Realty Maui agents and staff cleaned a stretch of Sugar Beach in Kihei, picking up every scrap of trash they could find and leaving the beach better than they found it.
No two RED Days are alike, but every year, Vinoray says she and her colleagues share the same sentiment. Each time, she said, “It feels so good to give back.”
And it’s guaranteed that next year’s RED Day will be no different.
Food banks across the country continue to face an unprecedented demand for resources and the Maui Food Bank is no exception. That’s why RED Day and other Realtors Association of Maui member-driven efforts are so important. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit was serving 10,000 food-insecure residents monthly. That number skyrocketed to 45,000 people last year. Last month alone, more than 539,000 pounds of food were distributed to residents in need. More than ever, food and monetary donations are needed to help feed those who are at risk of going hungry in Maui County. To learn more about the Maui Food Bank or to inquire about donor or volunteer opportunities, visit www.mauifoodbank.org or call 243-9500.
The Maui News – May 31, 2021