Eight Naperville hotels led a new charity charge this season that resulted in donating 250 gifts and household necessities to two organizations that help people in need.
The first Gift Giving Tree Drive concluded Wednesday as volunteers with a coalition of hotels, restaurants and schools in Naperville called Hospitality Helps delivered wish list items to Hesed House, a homeless services organization in Aurora.
Becky Farver, director of sales for the Naperville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the campaign allowed all employees of participating hotels to get involved.
That differs from other tasks Hospitality Helps takes on throughout the year, such as landscaping at the Naperville Area Humane Society, running a 5K to benefit Loaves & Fishes Community Services or mulching for trees along the Riverwalk during an Earth Day event. In those cases, depending on shifts, many employees must stay back and keep hotel operations going, Farver said.
"We wanted to do something impactful where everyone could get involved," she said of the holiday gift drive, which benefited 360 Youth Services in Naperville and Hesed House. "This was a way that the employees could participate. Everyone could have all hands on deck to really promote it and get more items to these two charities."
Employees of participating hotels bought fun and useful items, such as toys, sports gear, scarves, hats, wallets, belts, gift cards and cleaning supplies, from Nov. 1 through Sunday. The convention and visitors bureau organized the donations, wrapped the toys and gifts and distributed them to the charities.
Hotels, including the Chicago Marriott Naperville, Courtyard by Marriott, Embassy Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Hampton Inn Chicago Naperville, Hotel Arista, Hotel Indigo Naperville Riverwalk and Red Roof Inn Plus, displayed trees in their lobbies or break rooms to list items the charities need.
"We had it right at our front desk with the little ornaments," said Janet Eyster, general manager of Fairfield Inn and Suites. "We all believe in helping those who need help."