An unprecedented effort is underway to turn sweet dreams into full plates for the families of Western North Carolina.
This September, over 30 Asheville-area hotels will embark on the second annual Sweet Dreams, Full Plates initiative, a major collaboration aimed at connecting Asheville area’s thriving tourism industry to local hunger relief issues.
“The Asheville hotel industry and MANNA have set the bar when it comes to bringing our visitors into the loop of making a difference in the community they are visiting,” said Robert Foster, Director of Hotel Operations for Biltmore Farms Hotels. “One of the things I enjoyed most was the connection our staff and guests made with the difference they were making.”
The concept is simple, but the results are truly life-changing.
Hotel guests, during September, are given the opportunity to forgo stayover services by
simply hanging a door hanger on their room door. The door hanger says, “We Fed A Family,” and for every room that chooses to participate, the hotel makes a $2 donation on their behalf.
With each $2 donation, MANNA FoodBank is able to provide enough food for seven meals.
“The success of this campaign serves as a case in point for the power of collaborative impact,” said Alisa Hixson, Director of Corporate Engagement and Signature Events for MANNA FoodBank.
In 2017, this unprecedented campaign raised over $30,000 during the inaugural year; resulting in nearly 120,000 meals distributed through MANNA FoodBank to help end hunger in Western North Carolina.
“Last year’s program proved that many of the tourists that seek out Asheville, share the same values that make this community so inclusive,” said Hixson. “They are excited to be able to participate in giving back. A lot of young families seem especially excited to demonstrate to their kids how a simple act of giving can be so powerful to someone in need.”
The 2018 campaign aims to up its donation to $50,000 for MANNA FoodBank – equaling roughly 175,000 meals distributed to WNC.
What makes the program so unique, partners say, is the area-wide collaboration of businesses, guests, and the community to achieve a common goal – a true testament of Southern hospitality.
“Hospitality businesses are generous supporters of local charities,” said Explore Asheville President & CEO Stephanie Brown. “We applaud the lodging industry involving some of the 3.8 million overnight visitors to engage them in our community to participate in a local effort of giving.”
Boosting excitement, participating hotels compete internally for who can raise the most
money during the month. Last year, Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville took home the Golden Pineapple Award for most overall funds raised. Residence Inn Biltmore won for most revenue per available room and nabbed the Dream Team Award.
Participants hope to grow this campaign annually and also inspire hospitality-based
charity efforts across the nation.
The campaign coincides with National Action Hunger Month, a month where people all over America stand together with Feeding America and the nationwide network of food banks to fight hunger.
It’s a harsh reality that many may be surprised to find: hidden within the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains 1 in 6 people and 1 in 4 children are food insecure.
A reality that, through the efforts of these community industries, will truly turn sweet dreams into full plates.
For more information on Sweet Dreams, Full Plates, visit sweetdreamsfullplates.org and follow the 2018 campaign on Facebook at facebook.com/Sweet-Dreams-Full-Plates-210690416237056.
About MANNA FoodBank
MANNA FoodBank is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving Western North Carolina since 1983. As an accredited member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, the mission of MANNA FoodBank is to involve, educate, and unite people in the work of ending hunger in Western North Carolina. MANNA serves over 200 community based non-profit food assistance partner agencies in 16 Western North Carolina counties and distributed 16.4 million pounds of food in 2016. For more information, visit MANNAFoodBank.org, or call 828-299-FOOD.
AC Hotel Asheville Downtown
Aloft Asheville Downtown
Best Western – Biltmore East
Cambria Hotel & Suites Downtown Asheville
Country Inn & Suites By Carlson Tunnel Road
Country Inn and Suites By Carlson, Asheville Westgate
Country Inn and Suites By Carlson, Asheville Outlet Mall
Courtyard by Marriott
Comfort Inn Asheville Tunnel Road
Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort – Asheville
Doubletree by Hilton Asheville – Biltmore
Four Points by Sheraton – Asheville Downtown
Hampton Inn & Suites Biltmore Area
Hampton Inn & Suites Biltmore Village
Hampton Inn – Tunnel Road
Hampton Inn & Suites – Asheville Airport
Hampton Inn & Suites – Asheville Outlet Mall
Haywood Park Hotel
Homewood Suites by Hilton Asheville
Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park
Hilton Garden Inn – Asheville Downtown
Holiday Inn – Biltmore East
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Downtown
Hotel Indigo – Asheville Downtown
Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown
Renaissance Asheville Hotel
Residence Inn Biltmore
THE WINDSOR – Boutique Hotel
Springhill Suites Marriott
Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Asheville Outlet Mall
Holiday Inn Biltmore West
Isis Music Hall
Two Birds Marketing
Historic Biltmore Village
Insurance Service of Asheville
ASP of Asheville
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
Cantina at Historic Biltmore Village
Mast General Store