QHotels brings Christmas to foster children
LAPLACE — Between the ongoing health crisis, economic hardship and wide-scale layoffs, this year has not been kind to many families across Louisiana. The QHotels team, headquartered in LaPlace, wanted to make the season a little brighter by donating Christmas gifts to foster children in need.
QHotels donated winter wear and toys to approximately 170 children this year after reaching out to Child Advocacy Services coordinators in St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Terrebonne and Calcasieu parishes.
“Especially with COVID and the year that we’ve all had, we’re trying to reach out to the parishes that we are part of and do what we can for our community,” said Vimal Patel, president of QHotels. “We want to stand by them and be good citizens, especially right now when there is a lot of negativity and a lot of economic and job losses that have been happening. We are trying to see what we can do.”
QHotels’ partnership with CASA began in 2014. Each year, Child Advocacy Services coordinators from various parishes compile a list of the children in foster care in need of some Christmas joy. The QHotels team will go shopping to fulfill the wish list, which traditionally includes age-appropriate toys.
However, this year, the local CASA requested winter coats and pajamas for the 18 children currently in foster care in St. John the Baptist Parish.
Advocate supervisor Shannon Brown said there are fewer St. John the Baptist Parish children in foster care this year.
“We had the specific request for the pajamas and coats this year because that is always a basic need for the children we serve,” Brown said.
Court-appointed special advocates are continuing to provide a voice in the court system for children who cannot speak for themselves. The main difference this year is that most of the court appointments and meetings have been conducted virtually.
Also receiving QHotel donations, according to Patel, were 87 children in Calcasieu Parish, approximately 64 children in St. Tammany Parish and four children in Terrebonne Parish.
“I’m sure a lot of those kids in Calcasieu Parish have probably been moved around quite a bit,” Patel said. “There was a power outage that lasted over two weeks with the first hurricane. There was a lot of hardship on top of COVID.”
QHotels reached out to hurricane victims this year at various locations. In St. John the Baptist Parish, QHotels assisted in providing lodging and free food for a large group of mentally disabled adults and staff members from the Calcasieu A.R.C.
Patel’s family also gives back through a revolving micro-loan platform called kiva.org. Since 2012, Patel’s two daughters have contributed a total of $23,000. Approximately 900 people have received micro-loans using those funds.
“The loans are used especially in countries where funds are not as easily available for the farmers, parents with small shops and students who might need some education funds. It helps with all kinds of life sustainability funding they may need,” Patel said.