Giving and the holiday spirit is at the core of every hospitality professional; taking care of people is what we do. ALHI hotels are invested members of their communities, and each and every holiday season many find thoughtful ways to give to those in need, whether it's through toy and food drives or raising money for local nonprofits. Especially in the midst of a pandemic.
Here, 14 hotels from the ALHI portfolio share the charities that they're passionate about partnering with in their communities.
From a Golden Retriever in Vermont that dresses like Santa and poses for photos to raise money for a local animal shelter to chefs in Florida who bake holiday pies to benefit the local Meals on Wheels chapter, here are the remarkable ways hotels are giving back this season and doing so in a socially-distanced way in 2020.
To see more on how ALHI is giving back this holiday season, follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook at #ALHIGivesBack.
Dream Tree for Kids: The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, WV
Celebrating its 10th year, The Greenbrier's annual charity drive distributes $1 million worth of toys to local and national charities each holiday season. A team of 600 volunteers worked more than 1,200 hours to wrap 45,000 gifts this year. Nearly 4,000 of which are placed in and around the Dream Tree for Kids display in the lobby of The Greenbrier. The remaining are housed in various locations around the expansive property to await distribution to families in need.
Donated Meals, Charitable Afternoon Teas and More: The Peninsula Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
Starting at Halloween and continuing through the holiday season, The Peninsula Chicago is involved in a number of charitable initiatives.
For the past two decades, the hotel has provided Halloween treats and holiday gifts for kids at the Hephzibah Children's Home, an organization that, among its services, houses neglected and abused children. During Halloween, The Peninsula traditionally provides gift bags and the hotel mascot Peter Bear visits the kids. This year, the hotel sent themed gift bags to 30 children that live at the house. The hotel also buys holiday gifts from the children's wish lists.
Also, from every Festive Afternoon Tea at the hotel, Peninsula Chicago donates $5 to the Chicago Public Library Foundation, which supports literacy efforts and youth empowerment programs. To be nimble amid COVID-19 social distancing procedures, the hotel created a plan to offer afternoon tea to-go. Guests are also invited to bring a new or gently used children's book, which will be donated to the charity.
Through another partnership, meals purchased from the to-go menus at Shanghai Terrace and The Lobby, The Peninsula Chicago will make a one-for-one meal donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.The hotel is expecting to donate 20,000 meals by the end of 2020 through this initiative that was launched when The Peninsula Chicago reopened in July 2020.
Donations to a Local Animal Shelter: The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester Village, Vermont
Cooper, a 4-year-old Golden Retriever and the hotel's "Chief Happiness Officer," will be donning a Santa suit and posing for holiday pictures with guests on select days in December. Priced at $10 per holiday photo shoot with this very good boy, a portion of the proceeds will go to the local animal rescue shelter, Second Chance Animal Shelter. Also on deck at The Equinox is "Cookies and Cuddles with Cooper," which will allow kids to cozy up with the dog-in-residence while enjoying cookies, cocoa and a holiday-themed story read by Cooper's human and hotel general manager Jay Sheldon. This private activity, with social distancing measures in mind, will take place in the Equinox library. A plush Golden Retriever is included as a keepsake. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Second Chance Animal Center.
Pie Baking for Charity: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan, Florida
The resort is a long-time participant in the annual Pie it Forward Program that's run by Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. Through the initiative, warm meals are delivered to senior citizens in the area. To help support Meals on Wheels, Palm Beach County hotels and restaurants, including Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, volunteer each year to bake pies in a designated flavor category, such as apple, pecan or key lime. The homemade pies are donated and sold, with proceeds benefiting Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. Over the past few years, Eau Palm Beach pastry chef Zachary Detweiller and his team have baked and boxed more than 1,000 pies.
"My team and I are passionate about helping others in our community, and baking pies for Thanksgiving is just a perfect way to share the holiday spirit with others," he says.
Creating a Magical Christmas for Foster Children: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess partners with Cox Charities to benefit the #LoveUp Foundation, an organization that helps improve the lives of the more than 15,000 children in the Phoenix area who live in foster or group homes.
The hotel team says that the true magic of Christmas at the Princess is being able to bring joy to others, particularly the #LoveUp children who are having to maneuver through the challenges of 2020 away from home without their parents. The resort hosts more than 600 children for s'mores and hot cocoa during a night out at the hotel's famed Christmas festival. Also, $10 of the resort's primary holiday rooms package "Jingle for Joy," is donated for each night's stay to #LoveUp and $1 of each ice-skating session is donated to the foundation.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princes also partners with Cox Mexia to produce a three-minute TV segment about #LoveUp kids, and the resort distributes the messaging through its social media channels to encourage donations to the foundation. Over the past 4 years, the resort has donated more than $350,000 in hard dollars and in-kind services through the Cox charity organization to help children in need.
Turkey Drive: Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover, Maryland
To help those in need enjoy Thanksgiving, Live! Casino & Hotel donated 300 turkeys to the Anne Arundel Food Bank this year. Members of the property's leadership team also visited the food bank to sort and package additional food items that were distributed to families.
Shopping for Families in Need: MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada
The team at MGM Grand says its favorite event to participate in is the annual Adopt-A-Family through HELP of Southern Nevada. In normal times, the conference center, catering and banquet teams come together to adopt several families and then bring gifts into the office to wrap. This year, amid a new normal due to COVID-19, MGM employees are still participating in the charitable tradition, but doing so in a more remote fashion.
A Partner in Toy and Food Drives: Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut
Mohegan Sun partners with the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut for a variety of initiatives every holiday season. Among them? A toy drive leading up to Christmas and a post-holiday food drive that helps keep pantries stocked at a time when charitable donations typically dwindle.
Not only do Mohegan Sun employees donate to the Tommy Toy Fund drive, but, every year, team members volunteer to assist with the logistical side of this community-wide event from set-up to distribution to clean up. Last year, more than 4,400 received gifts through the Tommy Toy Fund program. The toy drive will take place this year with social-distancing measures in effect.
Mohegan Sun continues to support the community with an annual food drive that takes place in February. The donations are provided to the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center.
Toy and Gift Drive: The Breakers Palm Beach
Team members from The Breakers Palm Beach collected more than 500 assorted children's toys for the resort's annual Fall Toy & Gift Drive that happens ahead of the holidays. This year's virtual event supported the Center for Child Counseling, which provides counseling and support for children and families impacted by adverse experiences, with a specialization in play therapy as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Belle Glade, a non-profit youth development organization.
Partnering with The Local Boys & Girls Clubs: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California
Since 2002, the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad on an annual holiday give-back program. Every year, the resort donates between $40,000 to $50,000 to support local families in need. The resort donates gift certificates, which the Boys & Girls Clubs of Carlsbad use to incentivize end-of-year donations, and the proceeds support funding for after-school programs and activities.
Partnering with St. Jude's: Trump Doral Miami in Miami, Florida
Purchase a manicure or pedicure at The Trump Spa through Dec. 31, and $5 of the purchase price will be donated to the St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign that benefits St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. As a thank you, the hotel will extend guests $20 off any 60-minute massage or facial treatment when booked with the manicure. Also, guests can stop by the front desk to purchase teddy bears for $20 and 100 percent of the purchase is donated to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Toys and Food Drives: Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida
For each takeaway meal purchased from the hotel's Thanksgiving menu, The Harris Rosen Foundation is making a donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Every dollar donated translates to four meals for those in the local community. The hotel also participates in Toys for Tots and company volunteers wrap the gifts. The Harris Rosen Foundation provides gifts for close to 200 children.
Toy Drives and Supporting a 'Storybook Resort': The Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach, Florida
Hotel associates each year participate in the Salvation Army Angel Tree that allows them to shop for holiday gifts for children in need. The collected gifts are given to parents and guardians who can place them under the family tree for Christmas morning. Also, Davidson Hotels, and by extension, the Don CeSar, pledge commitment to Give Kids the World Village, which is an 89-acre storybook nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides critically ill children and their families with a magical week-long vacation at no cost from mid-November to early January. Employees support the mission through volunteer events and financial donations.