Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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This is a worthy effort. Here’s how it works: hotel guests can choose to forgo stayover services and simply put out a door hanger that says, “We Fed A Family” and the hotel will make a $2 donation on the visitors’ behalf. With each $2 donation, MANNA FoodBank can provide enough food for seven meals, according to a press release.

The full press release ishere:

This September, 29 Asheville-area hotels will jointly embark on a major month-long collaboration to help feed the thousands of families that face hunger every day across Western North Carolina.

Sweet Dreams, Full Plates: Hospitality Feeds Families will take place throughout the entire month of September, coinciding with national Hunger Action Month. Local hotels will compete with each other for a wonderful cause: To see which hotel can raise the most money to benefit MANNA FoodBank.

Hidden within the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a harsh reality: 1 in 6 people and 1 in 4 children in WNC don’t know where their next meal will come from. The majority of families who reach out to MANNA’s network throughout the year are facing a unique “socio-economic storm” of factors in WNC. The Asheville area is the most expensive housing in not just the state, but the tristate area, outpacing even Atlanta in housing costs. With a distinct lack of affordable housing, families must live further and further from their jobs, and without accessible mass transportation, must also have access to a reliable vehicle. One unexpected car repair can start an economic spiral that most families living paycheck to paycheck simply cannot escape.

In the last year alone, MANNA FoodBank has seen a huge increase in the number of working families that are struggling to make ends meet, forced to make hard choices about how to spend their very limited resources. Over 75 percent of families served by MANNA’s network have had to choose between buying food and paying utility bills; over 64% of families have had to choose between buying food and paying for necessary medicine or medical care.*

“It is rare that an opportunity brings together our guests and employees to impact the local community,” said Robert Foster, Director of Hotel Operations for Biltmore Farms Hotels. “Starting the Feed A Family program with Biltmore Farms Hotels did just that and was a meaningful experience for all involved, as well as strengthened our relationship with MANNA FoodBank.”

Sweet Dreams, Full Plates aims to connect the Asheville metro area’s thriving tourism industry to local hunger relief issues—a feat not easily accomplished in an industry almost exclusively supported by people visiting from outside the area, who might be unfamiliar with the local community’s needs. Hotel guests will have a chance to make a real impact while visiting, as well as learn more about hunger issues in the WNC region.

“MANNA has enjoyed support from the hospitality sector for decades,” said Alisa Hixson, Director of Corporate Engagement and Signature Events for MANNA FoodBank. “This innovative partnership marks a strategic opportunity to enlarge the circle of support and engage visitors to our region who desire to partake in our unique offerings and also leave something in return.”

“Hospitality businesses are generous supporters of local charitable efforts,” noted 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.”

Area hotels will engage hotel guests to make an impact on local hunger during their stay throughout September. Guest participation is easy: Hotel guests can choose to forgo stayover services and simply hang 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 will make a $2 donation on their behalf. With each $2 donation, MANNA FoodBank can provide enough food for seven meals.

Hotel staff are already buzzing about the upcoming competition as just another opportunity to help give back to their local community, and are signing up to take group tours of MANNA’s facilities to get a better understanding of the issue of hunger in WNC before the September campaign kicks off.

Each participating hotel will track their weekly fundraising efforts in the friendly competition; the winning hotel will receive a “huge” thank you: A giant billboard announcing the winner, bragging rights, and, of course, the warmth that comes from knowing that they helped fill the plates of families across WNC.

“This program invites visitors to share in a value dear to our region,” said Hixson. “It is part of Asheville’s appeal and what draws diverse visitors: an inclusive mindset. That is, neighbors helping neighbors, where even short-term neighbors can make a difference.”

Participating Hotels

AC Hotel

Aloft Asheville Downtown

Comfort Suites Outlet Center

Country Inn & Suites

Country Inn and Suites By Carlson, Asheville Westgate

Courtyard Marriott

Crowne Plaza Tennis and Golf Resort

Days Inn – Biltmore East

Doubletree by Hilton Asheville – Biltmore

Four Points by Sheraton – Asheville Downtown

Hampton Inn Asheville I-26 Biltmore Area

Hampton Inn – Tunnel Road

Hampton Inn & Suites Asheville – Biltmore Village

Hampton Inn & Suites – I-26 Asheville

Homewood Suites by Hilton Asheville

Haywood Park Hotel

Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park

Hilton Garden Inn – Asheville Downtown

Holiday Inn – Biltmore West

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Hotel Indigo – Asheville Downtown

Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown

Quality Inn & Suites – Biltmore East

Renaissance Asheville Hotel

Residence Inn Biltmore

THE WINDSOR – Boutique Hotel

Springhill Suites Marriott

*Figures are from MANNA FoodBank’s Hunger in America: Western North Carolina 2014 Report

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. BMacAVL August 14, 2017

    BCTDA Board Members
    Ms. Paula Wilber, Chair
    The Biltmore Company
    Chamber Appointment – Tourism Related

    Mr. Jim Muth, Vice Chair
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    Ms. Leah Ashburn
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    County Appointment – Tourism Related

    Mr. Chip Craig
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    County Appointment – Lodging -101+ Rooms

    Mr. John Ellis
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    Mr. Gary Froeba
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    County Appointment – Lodging 101+ Rooms

    Mr. Himanshu Karvir
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    City Appointment – Lodging 101+ Rooms

    Mr. John Luckett
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    City Appointment – Lodging 101+ Rooms

    Mr. John McKibbon
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    County Appointment – Lodging 100 Rooms or Less

    Councilwoman Julie Mayfield
    Asheville City Council Ex-Officio Member

    Commissioner Joe Belcher
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  2. BMacAVL August 14, 2017

    The city still needs to raise the hotel tax and stop giving all the money back to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority…great they are looking for positive media and helping Manna while the “hotel BOOM” continues in Asheville.

    I’m very disappointed(…by no means surprised!!!) that none of the properties under McGibbon Hospitality(AC Hotel/Aloft/Courtyard/SpringHill Suites/Hotel Arras; coming soon!) are on the list of those “giving back”.

    Does anyone else find it strange how John McGibbon(part-time resident) is on the The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) taking all the “hotel tax revenue to drive more guests into his hotels?!?!

    Residents pay taxes to help with infrastructure improvements while hoteliers continue to bring in more guests…shouldn’t some of that burden be placed upon millionaire hoteliers who continue bringing in more folks daily, using our roads, sidewalks, parks…etc?!?!?!

    1. Barry Summers August 17, 2017

      The City has no control over the hotel tax – how much it is, or who gets it. That’s decided by the County and the State. The City doesn’t get a dime of it, sadly. It all goes towards attracting more tourists.

    2. Jason Sandford August 17, 2017

      Hello, BMacAVL, the John McKibbon properties are, in fact, participating. Due to my mistake, they were left off the list. I’ve corrected the listing. My apologies to McKibbon Hospitality for the error.


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