By Neale Ward

BHMA, founded more than 40 years ago, has a long history in giving back to the Boulder Community. In addition to the nearly $8 million dollars in taxes contributed annually to the city’s General Fund through the collection of Lodging Tax, BHMA members provide, year round, a myriad of services, goods, labor, rooms and volunteer hours.

This past October, the hotels of Boulder participated in an event called “Socktober”. Large boxes were placed in the lobbies of local hotels, collecting socks and other winter supplies for the Boulder Homeless Shelter. In the end, over 250 items were collected, and donated to ensure that our more vulnerable members of society had warm clothing for the winter.

In both 2017 and 2018, more than 40 BHMA and BCVB volunteers teamed up at Upslope Brewing in Boulder to fill 100 There With Care Cleaning Product Care Bags to be delivered to families with critically ill children. In addition, we were generously hosted by Upslope’s staff together with Laura Greaney, Event Coordinator, and helpfully instructed by There With Care’s Julie Hess and Katie Hegg. The most recent of the BHMA Community Affairs efforts to give to our community, the benefit drive was headed by Cathy Rothweiler (Residence Inn) and Renee McDermid (Hampton Inn).

Each bag contained 9 cleaning products, all donated by BHMA members. The Cleaning Care Bags go on every floor of the families’ homes in order to prepare for a child coming home with a possible compromised immune system. At an estimated retail value of more than $100 per bag, this represented over $1000 in a benefit to the local There With Care non-profit. Participating hotels included Boulder Inn, Boulder Marriott, Boulder Twin Lakes, Boulder University Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Homewood Suites, Hotel Boulderado, Hyatt Place Boulder, Residence Inn, St Julien Hotel & Spa, plus allied member Green Ride and the Boulder CVB.

And meanwhile, it was great fun and enjoyed by all.

After packing the 900 items into bags, everyone queued up to load the waiting Suburbans.

This event joins a long list of BHMA Community Affairs events. Among the are:

In 2003, BHMA brought to Boulder High School, the Pro-Start Program, a national hospitality education program that offers junior and senior high school students the opportunity to work in mentored industry internships, to receive college credit and scholarships. In Colorado, the program was sponsored by the Colorado Restaurant Association and CHLA. In 2004 and 2005, ProStart Program Students honed and practiced their skills at the Millennium Harvest House in a BHMA sponsored “WarmUp for Statewide Competition prior to finals at Johnson & Wales in Denver.

BHMA organized, hosted and staffed 9 News Health Fairs at Millennium Harvest House in 2005 and at Hotel Boulderado in 2006 and 2007. The program offers to the public access to an array of free and low-cost comprehensive health screening and interactive educational centers. An estimated 1000 Boulder residents took advantage of the offerings.

In 2009, in the heart of a recession, BHMA offered to donate school supplies to the families of all hotel housekeeping staff. On request, individual backpacks were stocked with all supplies required by teachers in Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle and High Schools in Boulder County. In all 127 backpacks were distributed at a value of over $2500.

One of the losses in the devastating Boulder foothills fire in 2010 was the Four Mile Fire Engine. In 2011, BHMA organized and held a Silent Auction in the Millennium Hotel Garden Pavilion. More than 140 donated items included free night stays in hotels in New York, Vail, St. Louis, Nashville, Durham, NC, Colorado Springs, Denver and Breckenridge; free passes to concerts, film, a ski resort, clubs and evens; gift certificates to many of Boulder’s finest restaurants, and items including bike helmets, cases of beer, gift baskets and art.

More than $15,000 was collected from bidders at the Silent Auction. Fire engines and fire fighters joined the festivities. Children met our real life local heroes, men and women, and explored the fire engines on display.

The Boulder hospitality community (hotels and restaurants) is well known as a contributor on a regular basis to the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. BHMA often organizes a collection of blankets, pillows, personal care products, and laundry supplies from members for delivery. In 2016, at the suggestion of the Hampton Inn, BHMA added an annual drive to deliver, specifically, socks. Known now as Socktober, it reprised in 2017 and has helped to fill an unmet need so critical for the winter months.

In May 2015, BHMA member associates stepped out of their offices, kitchens, and reception desks to clean, cultivate, restore and replant long neglected flower beds flanking the RTD complex on Canyon and Walnut in downtown Boulder. In collaboration with the city of Boulder, long dead trees were removed and replaced, irrigation was restored, and scores of shrubs, perennials and annuals were planted to again delight and cheer visitors, commuters and downtown workers who stream daily around this central location.

One Year Later…

BHMA Community Affairs is planning to launch yet another project.

Willing and enthusiastic volunteers are also more than welcome (encouraged!) to join the BHMA Community Affairs Committee. Interested? Let us know.