ST. LOUIS—John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts’ (JQH) Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles is continuing to build on John Q. Hammons’ giving legacy as reflected by a rise in employee participation in the hotel’s volunteer and charitable giving opportunities. This TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame hotel exceeded 1,000 hours in volunteer time last year associated with feeding the world’s hungry and those in their backyard, serving veterans, preparing persons to obtain jobs, and working with students with developmental disabilities, among other causes. The 296-suite Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles is owned and operated by Springfield-based JQH, a leading private, independent owner and manager of hotels in the United States, including operating more than 1 million square feet of meeting space.
“Giving back is at the heart of every JQH property,” said Tim Lewin, General Manager of Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles. “Ensuring community partnerships are in place is inspired by company namesake and legendary hotelier Mr. John Q. Hammons. There appears to be an enhanced desire by associates to make a difference in their own community and beyond. We have noticed a significant increase in employees’ giving of their time, in-kind goods and monetary contributions even as their own lives stay busy.”
Grounded in hospitality, it’s no surprise that causes that provide food and shelter resonate with hotel staff. Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles has one of the highest levels of participation in the JQH national philanthropic partnership with Convoy of Hope, which has a focus on feeding the world’s hungry children and tackling systemic poverty in the United States and globally. The majority of the hotel’s 79 associates participate in JQH’s Legacy of Giving cause with Convoy of Hope, where $10 a month can feed a child for an entire month internationally or provide $100 in food, goods and services to a family in need in the United States.
Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities
“For the last two to three years, JQH’s Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles has embraced individuals with disabilities and set up a pathway for success,” said Jaki Jefferson, Project SEARCH manager, Easter Seals Midwest. “The hotel has strategically integrated the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the DNA of the organization. Simply put, Embassy Suites has provided an opportunity that has changed individuals’ lives forever.”
According to Jefferson, the Project SEARCH High School transition program is a nine-month school-to-work program for students with developmental disabilities. The program focuses on total workplace immersion and facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and on-the-job training and support. Last year, out of a class of eight Project SEARCH hotel interns at Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles, three successfully applied for hotel positions.
Hollis R. Whiting, Director of Employment, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., also expressed appreciation for Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles, citing the example of the hotel’s participation during the organization’s Readiness Workshops, which assist attendees in gaining an understanding of what it takes to prepare for today’s job market.
Job Readiness Workshops
“It has truly been a delight working with JQH’s Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles team,” Whiting said. “We appreciate them and all they do to support our mission. The hotel’s Human Resources Director Felisha Clay has volunteered as a facilitator for our annual Job Readiness Workshops for the past three years. Felisha is one of our best facilitators. Her team volunteered all day in our clothing closet sorting donations, hanging clothes and organizing the area. They all did a fabulous job.”
Martha Hudson, Volunteer Coordinator, The Salvation Army, shared that the partnership between The Salvation Army’s “Sallies HOPE Kitchen” in St. Charles and Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles has been a joyful one.
“Once a month Embassy Suites employees come our way for an evening meal and bring the complete meal,” Hudson said. “They bless folks who come and dine with us with a nutritious meal, and they are always gracious and kind. We don’t ask diners where they come from—home or under a nearby bridge. They come hungry, and our door is open. We couldn’t do it without groups like the one from JQH’s Embassy Suites by Hilton St. Louis—St. Charles. Those who come regularly to eat with us are more than thrilled when they see the Embassy Suites group is scheduled for that evening. They know they are in for a real treat.”