LAS VEGAS—There’s nothing more powerful than a community coming together around a positive purpose. In the aftermath of the Oct. 1 mass shooting at a country music festival here, there are people and businesses more than willing to lend a hand in helping this community heal.
On a quarterly basis, the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center hosts a blood drive, and there was one scheduled on Oct. 2. In light of the incident that occurred the night before, the hotel turned its blood drive into a larger community-wide effort with significant impact.
“We are in the business of serving people, and that extends to our community as well as our guests. Our associates want to give back to their neighbors in need, so we do everything possible to give them the resources to support the causes they are passionate about,” said Debra Punke, SVP of human capital at Concord Hospitality, which manages the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center. “We are mindful of the need that constantly exists in our own backyards, and our properties are involved in countless ways. The blood drive at the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center is a great example of that.”
With all that is happening in the world, Punke said it’s times like these when the company is most proud of its team members. “No matter what we are faced with, our focus remains on serving others. And what does that look like? It could be anything from setting up a 24/7 hotline where guests and associates can speak to a professional consultant about how they were impacted by a disaster to providing financial assistance to associates who lost their homes,” she said. “Every little bit helps.”
The hotel’s associates support a variety of philanthropic efforts throughout the year, and the blood drive is just one of many volunteer projects. Typically, the quarterly blood drives led by the hotel sees a few dozen people who stop in and donate. This particular blood drive saw much more.
“On that Monday, the line to donate quickly exceeded 125 people within the first hour of operation,” she said. “Our associates sprung into action, setting up relaxation areas for donors and fielding the dozens of donations we received from local businesses including the Bellagio, Pink Box donuts, Armanino Foods and Terrible Herbst convenience stores.”
A strong outpouring of support came from local hotels and residents alike. Among the supportive actions included the Bellagio Hotel & Casino donating 50 boxed lunches for blood donors waiting in line, while SpringHill Suites augmented the supplies with additional food, snacks and water. In addition, a local vendor dropped off dozens of donuts for waiting blood donors; a couple ordered 20 pizzas for the volunteers; and residents distributed cases of water, juice, chips and granola. It was a community effort.
All supplies that remained after the blood drive—which lasted about eight hours—were transported to the Las Vegas Convention Center where a “safe zone” had been established for those in need of additional support or information about their loved ones, noted Punke.
“At Concord, one of our cornerstones is the concept of ‘supporting community,’ and that is instilled from the ground up no matter what your position. The team on site at the SpringHill Suites Las Vegas has a profound sense of community and a desire to assist anyone in need,” she said. “The property became one of many collection points for the city that was gathering items for those impacted by the shooting, as well as a ‘home away from home’ for those arriving to find their family members.”
You don’t have to visit or live in Las Vegas to help. Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to assist the victims of the shooting.