Each year, I talk to a group of job trainees from Washington D.C. Central Kitchen and try to leave them with a few words of wisdom. We recently met in our executive boardroom. It’s a far cry from the streets of the nation’s capital where many used to live. DC Central Kitchen’s mission is one that I embrace: “Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity.” They do that by training unemployed adults for culinary careers.
In this season of giving, there’s no better feeling than helping someone less fortunate. I’ve personally focused on the terrific organizations in my hometown of Washington, D.C. I like to get involved and visit the food banks, habitat builds, free clinics and job training sites. Taking care of others was instilled in me at an early age.
I’ve tried to bring these core values to our company and to live up to our core values by taking care of our people and providing them with opportunities to grow.
This holiday season, here are a few things our hotels do that you can get involved in as well:
- Marriott Hotels collects hundreds of gifts for children on behalf of Toys for Tots using our lobbys as drop-off locations.
- We partner with the Capital Area Food Bank to provide food for the hungry here in the Washington, D.C. region. A few years ago, I had the privilege of recognizing Father Eugene Brake, who has dedicated his entire life to helping the homeless and providing for those in need.
- Residence Inn hotels in the U.S. participate in “Holidays for Heroes” for The Red Cross. It’s a card-writing program for military service members and their families.
- TownePlace Suites makes blankets that are delivered to Children’s National Medical Center here in Washington, D.C.
- Fairfield Inn & Suites works with Habitat for Humanity across the country.
As I looked across the boardroom, I saw the eyes of the DC Central Kitchen trainees light up when I mentioned my kitchen jobs early in my career – I worked the deep fryer, ice cream sundae maker, and I was a soda jerk. I’ve also washed a lot of dishes. I have been in their shoes, learning how to run a kitchen, and I loved it. Working in a Hot Shoppes kitchen convinced me that this is what I wanted to do for a living. It was non-stop action, chaotic, yet very rewarding especially when a customer gave you a compliment. The kitchen was my passion, and still is.
So, what great advice did I give these trainees? I said, “You got a lot of good recipes out there – follow them. Don’t try to be cute and freelance on the ingredients. Follow the recipe. Don’t be too creative.” This I learned from my own experience, and the early days in our family restaurant.
How are you giving back this holiday season? Leave me a comment.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.