Kemmons Wilson Companies Share Hospitality with Needy

In 1952, entrepreneur Kemmons Wilson opened the very first Holiday Inn in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mr. Wilson’s vision for a quality, affordable nights’ lodging grew into a company that left an indelible mark on the hospitality industry – not to mention the American landscape, with his iconic Holiday Inn sign.

Today, the Kemmons Wilson Companies’ focus is not solely on hospitality.  They are involved in a wide variety of enterprises, including insurance, real estate, and aviation. However, the company has never fully departed from the hospitality industry.

And through their expertise in service and hospitality, the Kemmons Wilson Companies, or KW for short, has been a tremendous and generous partner with the Memphis Union Mission.

KW’s involvement with the Mission began in early 2015, when the company decided to partner with two agencies for a two-year period. After a committee made up of KW employees looked at a variety of local non-profits, Memphis Union Mission was chosen as a partner agency.

It made sense, considering the fact that both KW and Memphis Union Mission have plenty of shared experience with hospitality. Moreover, the late Kemmons Wilson served on the Mission’s Board of Directors for many years.

Since launching the partnership in 2015, KW employees have continued to come down every month to serve lunch to the Mission’s homeless guests. Volunteering in their signature KW shirts, the employees have been a consistent and steady blessing by serving our guests with kindness and hospitality.

One of those who served on KW’s community outreach committee – and who has volunteered faithfully – was Sam Miller, financial analyst.

“Memphis Union Mission was very appealing because of the impact they have on so many people with nowhere else to turn,” Sam says. “Everyone thinks of the Mission as just a shelter/soup kitchen that caters to the homeless, but they do so much more.”

Of course, KW’s involvement isn’t limited to serving meals. For two years in a row, KW has also sent a team of employees to the Mission’s Calvary Colony facility to cater a barbecue lunch for the men enrolled in the long-term recovery program. After the lunch, the men in the Mission’s program take on the KW employees in a friendly – but fairly competitive – game of softball.

It’s a fun event that gives the KW employees an additional opportunity to build relationships with the Mission’s clients.

“Volunteering with Memphis Union Mission is a very humbling experience,” says Sam. “It really opens your eyes to our community and the things that can cause one to be homeless.”

“It is amazing the joy that comes from humbly serving others,” he says.

We at Memphis Union Mission appreciate the joy that KW has brought to our ministry and to our clients through their kindness, faithfulness and generosity!

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