Airline Layoff Sparks New Ministry Outreach

Post a Comment » Written on July 2nd, 2008     
Filed under: News
HALAWA, HI (July 2, 2008) – Every Tuesday afternoon, Wellspring Covenant Church becomes a place where any of 1,900 employees laid off by Aloha Airlines in March can find clothes, donated food, haircuts, and even a massage.

The ministry was started by church member and former Aloha Airlines flight attendant Valerie Sugawa, who left the carrier last year, prior to its closing.

“It started out with me just wanting to give haircuts,” Sugawa told the Honolulu Advertiser. “Then it just grew and grew.”

Now, Helping Hands Hawai’i Community Clearinghouse sets up shop at the church and provides support to the Aloha employees as well as people laid off from other companies. The laid-off workers can get help with resumes and applying for financial assistance.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus washes his disciples’ feet to demonstrate servanthood. Some of Wellsprings members are serving the out-of-work employees with foot massages.

Ryan Arasato is one of the church employees who provides the 25-minute foot and back massages. “I know how it feels not to have a job,” Arasato told the Advertiser. “This is my way of making them feel good.”

Sugawa and her husband, David, also created the website ShareAloha Hawaii to collect good and services for the former Aloha workers, as well as provide possible job leads.

To learn more, please see Wellspring.

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