Servco Employees Put Heart Into Annual School Supply Drive

Although Servco Pacific Inc. focuses on automotive sales and service, it also understands the importance of a child’s education and future.

In June and July, Servco employees were able to collect 415 new backpacks, as well as school supplies, through an internal drive.

And lucky first-graders at seven elementary schools (including Honowai in Waipahu and Lehua Elementary in Pearl City) received new bags for the school year filled with supplies like crayons, markers, portfolios, binders, pencil boxes, glue, scissors, erasers, pencils and more.

“I remember when I was a little girl we didn’t have a lot of money,” said U‘ilani Desilva, business office manager for Servco Lexus in Honolulu and Maui. “I remember going to school and not having anything with me as far as school supplies that parents were required to bring, and I remember being teased.

“Right when you come in the door, you’re already put on the side as less fortunate, and I believe that’s how bullies start. It’s a defense mechanism; You either fight back or you go into a corner and don’t participate with anybody.

“When you put all the children on the same level, by giving them what they need, the necessary tools they need to learn, you’re sending a message that they don’t have to worry about fitting in.”

This is the fourth year Servco has conducted the school supply collection drive in order to assist families struggling to provide for their children.

“We have a huge amount of responses as far as our employees,” Desilva said. “It’s funny because the first year we did it, I was shocked how many — about 80 percent to 90 percent — contributed. And they do it voluntarily.”

She noted that when employees go out and buy school supplies for their own children, they also purchase extra for the supply drive.

“They’re teaching their children to give, too. It’s a lesson learned,” she added.

The drive is a two-to- three-month process that includes gathering supplies and keeping track of the money used to purchase the backpacks with the Servco logo.

“It’s a lot of communication and excitement that goes around (Servco),” Desilva said.

Employees also volunteer to attend the backpack presentations at the various schools and send a positive message to the keiki about studying hard.

And every year, Servco keeps looking for ways to improve.

“I think what’s wonderful is how the Servco employees are so involved in this,” said sales and marketing vice president Kim Randall. “That’s the end result, seeing the kids’ smiling faces.”