On May 20th and 21st over 300 members of the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association (GNOHLA) volunteered time and effort to kick-off Habitat for Humanity’s AmeriCorps Build-A-Thon. The two-week event in New Orleans targeted building 10 homes in 10 days. That mission was accomplished with the help of many including: Marriott Hotels, DoubleTree, Hilton Riverside, Hyatt French Quarter, Royal Sonesta , Wyndham Garden Inn Airport and GNOHLA’s allied membership. In addition to supplying volunteer manpower for the event Marriott, Sheraton and Hyatt brands donated 2,500 boxed lunches for volunteers from across the country.
The contribution of service honors the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity (NOAHH) and it’s rapid relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Facing the largest disaster recovery efforts in the organization’s history, Habitat quickly provided the region with volunteers within six weeks of the disaster. Over a ten-year period 4,300 homes in the Gulf Coast region have been built or renovated by Habitat for Humanity of those, 500 homes were built in New Orleans Area.
Joe Blanchek, Chair of GNOHLA’s Community Involvement Committee and GM of Marriott New Orleans Convention Center, said “ the hotel industry of New Orleans is committed to ensuring that we stay focused on the community by working with the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity through volunteering our services, fundraising, and providing an opportunity for many to realize their dreams of home ownership.”
The Build-A-Thon enhances a seven-year partnership between GNOHLA and the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. The partnership is designed to support NOAHH by providing teams of hotel employee volunteers on a monthly basis to build homes and to fundraise. GNOHLA members have contributed nearly 20,000 hours of volunteer service and have raised over $400,000 since the partnership was established.