From helping the impoverished in Nicaragua to refurbishing technology for the local school and more, the VAR has made giving back a Hula community effort. By Colleen Frye
Hula Networks likes to spread joy near and far.
Since 2011, the San Jose, Calif.-based networking hardware VAR has donated and raised funds through partners, customers, and employees for post-Christmas community events in Nicaragua that provide food staples, toiletries, and other necessities to those in need. The events, which Hobin and Hula Networks staff have traveled to and participated in some years, include traditional candy-filled paper mache piñatas for the children to enjoy breaking open.
For CEO and Co-Founder Scott Hobin, the connection is personal. His wife is from Nicaragua, and family members who are still there are involved with the grass roots effort.
“With of our marketing efforts, through our customers and vendors, we were able to raise each year roughly about $4,000 for the event,” says Hobin, “and that goes a really, really long way down there. The last time we were down there we loaded up an open bed semi-truck of rice and beans and coffee and food and brought it to these two different areas. One is El Transito, which is an old shipping community outside of Managua, that’s a very rural area. And then the second one is at Lake Granada, which is just south of Managua.” This year the events will take place just in Lake Granada.
He says staff have been excited to participate over the years, embracing the spirit of “what giving means and generosity and helping other people. I think everyone kind of gets their own pleasure from it.”
Hula Networks also has customers in Central and South America, who “can really identify with it. So it’s definitely kind of formed a cohesion every year, like a Hula networks community of customers and partners. They all kind of work together to make these events happen.”
It’s a feel-good story in a time of a lot of negativity, he says. “And then to see the results after the event too, with the children getting their backpacks for school the next year. I think especially for the elderly it’s a really nice event because. … [they] are typically people who don’t have family anymore, and so for them to just have us visit them, play music, have a piñata, actually provide one-on-one conversation, giving them needed toiletries, is a really big deal for them.”
Closer to home, Hula Networks is working in conjunction with its customer base to donate needed technology such as laptops, printers, tablets, iPads, and other equipment to the children and parents of a local elementary school, Gabriela Mistral. The company handles all logistics and refurbishing of the donated items as well as reimburses shipping charges.
Hobin says the e-cycling effort is in line with its corporate values and “giving back to the community. We’re trying to avoid as much electronics going to landfills as possible and having them be used as long as we can. This is just kind of another message of doing something that we feel is right.”
The Hula community recently got behind Hobin as he participated in the Best Buddies Challenge, a 100-mile bike ride to raise funds Best Buddies International, a nonprofit that assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
And Hula Networks participates in its customers’ charity events as well. “Whether it’s a diabetes run or something like that, we generally get involved,” Hobin says. “It’s kind of a two-way street now with a lot of our customers and vendors where we’re helping each other out in philanthropic efforts.”
That’s the spirit of giving all year long.