Two items crossed my desk this week that made me take note of the kindness and generosity of those who work in hospitality around the world. I suppose it’s right there in our industry’s name. Hospitable: “given to generous and cordial reception to our guests.”
Whenever I think of the dedicated men and women who serve in America’s military, I’m always moved by their commitment and sacrifice. Veteran’s Day is coming up, and in recognition of veterans’ service, inns and bed & breakfasts across Canada and the United States will be opening their doors for complimentary stays November 10 and 11. The program is called B&Bs for Vets, and it’s being coordinated by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, in conjunction with BBCanda.com.
In 2008, Kathleen Panek, co-owner of the Gillum House Bed and Breakfast and a handful of innkeepers in West Virginia opened their doors in honor of Veteran’s Day. The idea took off. Last year more than 500 inns and B&Bs in the United States participated in the program, with more than 250 addition participants in Canada. This year, more than 800 inns are expected to participate.
Offers vary by inn; some will offer free rooms on November 10 or 11, while others may extend their offers by extra days or throughout the month. Many are including active duty officers in the offer as well. Check here for the list of inns and B&Bs participating in the United States, and here for a list of those properties taking part in Canada. Two inns in Minnesota have signed on for the program already: the Historic Hutchinson House B&B in Faribault, and the Hillcrest Hide-Away Bed & Breakfast in Lanesboro.
I like the motto of a nonprofit organization called Pack for a Purpose: Small space. Little effort. Big impact.
It really does sound simple. You can make a big impact in the lives of children around the world just by including much needed supplies in your luggage when you visit various communities in your travels.
Did you know that for five pounds, you could bring 400 pencils, five deflated soccer balls and a portable air pump, or a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and 500 Band-Aids? Small efforts add up. If 500 individuals each packed five pounds, 1.25 tons of supplies would be distributed to community projects around the world.
Since beginning the program in December 2009, Rebecca Rothney has already helped the global travel community donate more than 26,600 pounds of supplies to schools, clinics and orphanages worldwide. The process is simple. Check the website to search for your destination. Find a project nearby that the program supports. Choose which items you wish to bring. And finally drop your supplies off and one of the more than 300 participating lodging and tour companies around the world that accept Pack for a Purpose items from travelers. That’s it. From there the materials will be sent to fulfill community project needs in more than 45 countries.
Whether it’s an innkeeper opening a door to a veteran or a traveler adding a few toys to their luggage, our hospitality community finds many ways to pay it forward.