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Fueling program raises money for local nonprofits

By Hilary Reeves

The spirit of ‘ohana’ is more than a namesake to Ohana Fuels, a Hawaii Petroleum brand with stations attached to Minit Stop locations on The Big Island and Maui. The company is in its third year of a community giving program, “Fuel Up. Do Good,” that links fuel sales to the islands’ nonprofits in need.

Joy smiles with a hibiscus flower tucked behind her ear.“Everyone’s like ‘Ohana’ [family] here,” said Joy Madriaga, a Hawaii Fueling Network and Commercial Marketing Representative.

Madriaga was born and raised on the islands, joining Hawaii Petroleum as an account customer clerk in 2004. Prior to her 10 years with the company, she held a position as a loan supervisor and mortgage specialist at an island credit union, where she saw firsthand the needs of the community.

Madriaga took over the Ohana Fuels giving program in January, and said it was a gift to be able to move it forward, engaging with potential nonprofit recipients and growing the program through word-of-mouth.

“Here on the big island, culturally, everyone will support a good cause,” she said.

Ohana Fuels donates a portion of every gallon of gasoline sold at an Ohana Fuel Station to the program. On Maui, the company’s annual donations through third-quarter 2014 totaled almost $24,000. On the Big Island, total giving is nearing $15,000 on the year. Donations are made quarterly to a nonprofit on each island chosen by the company’s management. Hence their motto “Fuel Up Do Good,” as every sale benefits the recipients of Ohana Fuels Giving Program. Since the program’s inception, Ohana Fuels has donated tens of thousands of dollars to nonprofits including the Big Island Food Basket; the islands’ Boys & Girls Clubs; Big Brothers, Big Sisters Hawaii; HOSPICE; Arc of Hilo; HOPE Services; Helping Hands Hawaii; Hawaii Adult Care; Family Programs Hawaii; the Maui Food Bank; Feed my Sheep; and Ka Lima O Maui.

Joy poses with Big Brothers and Sisters holding a big Ohana Fuels donation check.
From left: Kimo Haynes, Hawaii Petroleum, Inc. President; Gordon Takaki, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawaii Island Regional Board President; Gail Takaki, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawaii Island Director; Curt Beck, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawaii Island Regional Board Member; and Joy Madriaga, Hawaii Fuel Network & Commercial Marketing Rep present check from “Fuel Up. Do Good.” Community Grant

One donation that really made an impression on Madriaga was the fourth-quarter 2013 selection of the Big Island’s Big Brothers, Big Sisters Program, to which Ohana Fuels presented a check for $5,840.69. The company also supplied the nonprofit with supplies and hosted three car washes on-site at its Puainako station, raising an additional $1,712 for a total of $7,553.69.

While well-established nationally, Big Brothers, Big Sisters Hawaii is just two years old and has concentrated its development of community- and school-based mentoring programs for at-risk children in East Hawaii. Ohana Fuel’s gift has allowed the program to support new matches in West Hawaii, with a focus on Waimea.

“That donation really stuck out to me…they all do, but the committee there really made an impression. I loved presenting that check and seeing their excitement at the award, which has done so much good to further that program here on the Big Island,” Madriaga said. “It was great to see people who work really hard to make our community better get a gift like that.”