Voices of those who give

There are a multitude of stories about responsible, upstanding businesses that support their communities by giving back. The majority of these revolve around financial support; however, many organizations realize the value of boots-on-the ground involvement. Rather than regale you with my stories about giving back, I went to the last two hotel teams I had the pleasure of working with. Here is a collection of their voices and perspectives:

“We (the housekeeping department) went to clean up a dirty park in a local area. There were so many of us. One person said it was like we were the television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” We were so strong and cleaned it all for the children.” (Translated from Spanish) ~ Room Attendant

“One of my favorite moments was bringing mochi ice cream to our adopted school and seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces. Many of them tried to come back for more! Even the teachers were excited. Even the president of our big corporation helped. The whole team talks about how wonderful it was to see a small child ask our president to sign his school diploma.” ~ Rooms Staff Member

“Every Christmas, Rotary gives our hotel a special needs family — a big one. Each department gets one family member to buy for, but one year, at the last minute, the family size doubled! We had to rush to buy and wrap gifts, but we made it. One person dresses up as Santa, we get into a van in the evening and go to deliver the gifts to the children and family. My favorite part is seeing the babies get gifts.” ~ Reservations

“I am very glad that my team and I selected room directory binders and floor mats from our hotel to provide to school kids. I hope the binders will help the school to organize all files, and rugs are keeping floors clean and safe for kids.”
~ Housekeeping

“Within weeks of taking this new job, I was asked to make ID tags for the teams at a rehabilitation center located a block away where kids are able to be treated for different disabilities. (Up to this time, I had not shared my personal experience with my new team. I have a son that became disabled at the age of 27; his disability started in May 2009, and the most difficult period ended in September 2009.) We were invited to their summer camp at the park. What a joy it was to see all these kids participate in different games and seeing their faces light up with joy. How wonderful it was to see the number of volunteers from different ages giving back to the community and the parents of these kids participating with all the children. There were no restrictions on what activities they could participate in — the only limitation was to ensure that they were safe. What a wonderful experience.” ~ Engineering

“We were part of assisting a missionary team to help a village in a small, very poor country. Two local schools, Rotary and many local corporations showed up to provide clothes, shoes, money, first-aid supplies and more. Even a competitor hotel showed up with enough towels for every child to be able to receive their first towel. The sound from the children … it was the best Christmas ever.” ~ Administrator

“We adopted a school, and at the adoption ceremony it was customary to exchange gifts. We had given our gift to the 700-student elementary school. This was right after the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and as a Japanese-owned hotel we were very affected, personally and professionally. Suddenly, during the ceremony on the playground, the children presented a 7-ft check for almost US$3,000 to be given to the victims in Japan. Their gift was to raise money for those hurt in Japan’s disasters. There were no words … only tears.” ~ GM and staff

“The most memorable moment I have experienced was when I volunteered for summer camp where I was able to hold the hand of a child with special needs and see the joy, happiness and carefree looks on their faces when they were simply jumping up and sliding down slides. It was a little hard to get out of the bouncy house at my age. The joy of making someone’s life and/or day is an awesome feeling to have.” ~ Revenue Manager

“For the past three years, we have coordinated an amazing off-premises catering event — once on a battleship — for about 300 people as a service to our community. It is truly the teamwork of our staff that has the unique ability to bridge the Japanese corporations with the American corporations of our community and promote understanding.” ~ Catering

Different companies and cultures have different views on giving back. For our operation, we live by the motto, “To whom much is given, much is required.” This is not always money. What do YOU have in abundance? It might be time, talent (teaching or mentorship), lightly used hotel items, compassion in the way we deal with others or donating dinner or room nights for a nonprofit in need. Setting the example for generosity and compassion reaps benefits for the employer, the team member, their families and our communities.

In what ways have your teams contributed to the benefit of others?

Your story is valuable and should be told.