Ten University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student-athletes and coaches kept active with an a-maize-ing task on September 11, harvesting 15,000 ears of corn to donate to a local food bank on September 14. The volunteer project was done in collaboration with California & Hawaiʻi Foliage Growers (CHFG).
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Vulcan harvesters were limited to a team of 10, which included softball coach Callen Perreira, baseball coach Kallen Miyataki and women’s basketball coach David Kaneshiro. Student-athletes involved were Shelby Graber and Carolina Alfonsin (women’s tennis), Skylar Thomas (softball), Camille Strazzo and Macey Moen (women’s soccer), Rustin Ho (baseball) and Athletic Director Patrick Guillen.
“Thanks to Mark Akiyama and Enrique Martinez of CHFG for their wonderful collaboration with this project,” said Guillen. “Their commitment to this and allowing us to participate in this project to benefit our community is a win-win for us all. It is a great way for our student-athletes to learn, especially for our agriculture majors, and give back to the community.”
Earlier in the week, UH Hilo agriculture majors Thomas Tolentino-Perry and Kaleihalia Tolentino-Perry (men’s soccer), visited the farm with Guillen. CHFG general manager Martinez, has been a supporter of Vulcan athletics for many years. Martinez saw the collaboration as a way to help Vulcan student-athletes understand hard work of another kind.
“I often talk with Pat on ways that we might be able to get the students involved,” Martinez said. “We appreciate the help, but I also think it is good for our young people to see how hard other people work. It is important to learn how to give back.”