During the early 1990's a chef from the formerly named Brisbane Sheraton Hotel and Towers (now Sofitel Brisbane) piloted a program of donating surplus food to various community welfare groups that provided food and shelter for Brisbane's disadvantaged and homeless population. The program became known as HotPAC- Hospitality Professionals Assisting Community.
Over the past ten years, HotPAC has evolved into an overarching operating principle whereby the hospitality industry can provide pragmatic and ongoing support to community welfare groups through the distribution of not only food but also toiletries, linen, clothing and other goods.
HotPAC is an ideal vehicle for hotels to harness the professionalism and community-spirited endeavours of their staff and offers a range of benefits to both community and industry, including:
- Savings in welfare group expenditure on food which can be redirected into other areas such as counselling and rehabilitation, education, assistance, support mechanisms and supply of social workers;
- Direct and practical assistance to homeless people;
- Encouraging homeless people to utilise shelters around the city rather than congregating in city open spaces;
- Reducing waste and therefore the cost of waste disposal;
- Promoting good corporate citizenry with the associated improvements in customer and staff satisfaction; and
- Providing an opportunity for hospitality professionals to use their skills in a way that accommodates hotel work hours that are often incompatible with community service endeavours.
After preliminary discussions and meetings between the Brisbane Lord Mayor's Office, Queensland Hotels Association, HART (homelessness assessment and referral team) 4000, Brisbane City Council Officers and other hospitality industry representatives, commitment was made to seek the expansion of HotPAC across Brisbane.
A project officer was employed to identify all interested parties and formalise a HotPAC model which can be adapted to suit individual hotels and welfare groups.
The project officer, Robyn Lawrence, has received positive endorsement from most Brisbane hotels and has 'matched' hotels with agencies based on supply and logistical considerations. A Memorandum of Understanding has been established to assist in clarifying the relationships between the parties.
HotPAC is a simple way for accommodation venues to provide direct and practical assistance to the local community on an ongoing basis. It visibly demonstrates the industry's commitment to the local area.
QHA commends the program to members and will continue to assist in any way possible to ensure that hotels can contribute in a meaningful way. Accommodation Division Manager, Judy Hill said she would like to see the HotPAC project considered by other hotels to expand throughout other areas of the state of Queensland.
"While many hotels currently undertake a range of charity work in the community through fundraisers and other community activities, the HotPAC program gives the four and five star hotels an opportunity to contribute on a daily basis," Judy said.
"This is an ideal partnership between the hotel and catering industry and the community sector and the QHA will be working with member hotels to help extend the service across the city and State."
For further information to become involved with HotPAC, contact Judy Hill, Accommodation Division Manager on (07) 3221 6999 or email@example.com