Turning down services has never tasted so sweet.
The third annual Sweet Dreams, Full Plates campaign set a new record this year – donating an incredible $59,100 dollars in September to support MANNA FoodBank’s mission.
“MANNA FoodBank is overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Mary Nesbitt, Chief Development Officer. “Their incredible efforts that involved all levels of staff in area hotels will provide thousands of meals for those who did not know where their next meal was coming from.”
In just three years, this ambitious campaign has raised over $130,000 for MANNA FoodBank – an amount Nesbitt says MANNA can turn into 500,000 meals – for more than 100,000 people facing hunger in Western North Carolina.
“The life changing impact of their efforts means the difference between a working-class family not having to choose between paying their electric bill or buying groceries, or seniors living on fixed income not having to worry about whether they can afford their medication, and children across our region having the food they need over the weekend,” Nesbitt said.
Each September, dozens of Asheville-area hotels come together for the Sweet Dreams, Full Plates campaign – a major collaboration aimed at connecting Asheville area’s thriving tourism industry to local hunger relief issues.
The concept is simple. Hotel guests, during the month of September, are given the opportunity to forgo stayover services by 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.
“Sweet Dreams Full Plates has become a passion for our team,” said Brenda Durden, Asheville Hotel Group Chief Operating Officer. “It has brought everyone closer and we have had an amazing number of guests who have said how happy they are to stay at a property who cares about their community.”
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 is an overwhelming feeling to know all the things our hotels are doing are selfless acts of kindness,” Durden said. “There are so many small things that come together to make a big difference, we are all so blessed to have a great organization like MANNA Food Bank to support and feel great to support our neighbors in need.”
Funds raised through this campaign go directly to help fill plates for people served through MANNA’s partner network. The majority of people who access food through this network are working families struggling to make their household budget work, seniors on fixed incomes, parents, and others simply facing a set of circumstances that make it next to impossible to afford food.
Hunger is a serious and chronic issue in Western North Carolina, impacting more than 100,000 people every year, according to statistics provided by MANNA FoodBank. In fact, one in six people face an empty plate across the region, and for children, that number is even higher: One in four children don’t know where or when they will get their next meal.