SPRINGFIELD, MO—The days are getting shorter and there’s a nip in the air. Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us and a strong desire to help others will take hold. But, you don’t have to wait until the holidays to give back. For John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts (JQH) and its team members, volunteering is a year-round commitment rooted in the legacy of its namesake founder, who greatly believed in supporting communities and people in need.
JQH, an independent owner and manager of hotels, is deeply involved in numerous community service projects and partnerships: Convoy of Hope, a nonprofit working to feed the world through children’s feeding initiatives, community outreach and disaster response; Project SEARCH, a program focused on training people with developmental disabilities to fill high-turnover jobs; building affordable homes through Habitat for Humanity; providing toys for children through Toys for Tots, working with veterans; and more.
Giving of time and resources is a top priority within the JQH portfolio, as is creating volunteer and charitable opportunities for their properties to participate and share in the company’s philosophy on service. Staff at the various hotels are interested and engaged at every level of these service projects from planning to goal setting to execution.
One hotel, in particular, is emblematic of the John Q. Hammons mission, reaching a milestone of more than 1,000 hours clocked for volunteer projects, such as feeding the hungry, helping veterans, providing job assistance and working with the developmentally disabled.
“We have a few different ones and almost every group takes on its own set of goals. We had nearly 700 volunteer hours, but we wanted to beat that number and we achieved more than 1,000 hours and grew volunteerism by more than a third. During Hilton’s Global Month of Service, we develop key projects and request commitments of involvement prior to activation dates. We also generate excitement and show them gratitude for helping,” said GM Tim Lewin, Embassy Suites St. Louis – St. Charles in Missouri, owned and operated by JQH. “For the global month of service, the goal was to get 30% and we achieved 50% in staff participation. With Convoy of Hope, our goal was 50% participation and we achieved 75%, exceeding our goal. For our team as a whole, it’s part of our culture. The spirit of giving is real.”
In addition, the hotel’s involvement with Project SEARCH had a goal of an 80% placement rate and, according to Lewin, they achieved an 86% placement rate.
As volunteer efforts gain traction across all JQH properties, the company remains focused on how they will build on their founder’s tradition with community service as the pillar.
“As an organization, we want to continue to collaborate with Convoy of Hope and tackling systemic poverty locally and globally,” said Lewin. “As a hotel, we will continue to support the initiatives and gear up for our next Hilton Worldwide Global Month of Service to help our teams identify more projects to help make a difference.”