Despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative implications for the state’s hospitality industry, Happy Santas, sponsored by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, joined together to collect gifts and fulfill Christmas wish lists for residents at Padua House, a residential program of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO) for those with profound disabilities and intellectual challenges. Instead of their traditional drop off atop the Drago’s Seafood Restaurant fire truck, they pivoted to fulfill clients’ digital wish lists via Amazon.
CCANO President and CEO Sister Marjorie Hebert said, “Despite a devastating year for the hospitality industry in New Orleans, the folks at the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation put their faith in action and stepped up to fulfill the Christmas wishes of our Padua House clients. We are eternally grateful for their selflessness this holiday season and hope that New Orleanians will continue the cycle of giving by supporting this important foundation.”
Happy Santas represent restauranteurs and friends in the local hospitality community. In the past, Happy Santas have come together dressed in full Santa costumes and other holiday flair armed with sacks of gifts for Padua House residents and clients.
The Happy Santas traditionally gather to sing holiday songs with those at Padua House and bring tokens of thanks for the CCANO staff who provide loving care and help make Padua a special place.
“It was important for us to still find a way to give back despite the Happy Santas not being able to physically celebrate the holidays with the clients, residents and staff at Padua House. Fortunately, we have plenty of great memories from years past that inspired us to continue this tradition in a safe and efficient way,” said Louisiana Hospitality Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Kelley.
Founded in 2006 by a select group of hospitality industry leaders, the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation is dedicated to supporting Louisiana’s hospitality industry workforce and strengthening Louisiana’s hospitality industry.
Those interested in supporting the local hospitality industry and the Foundation can click here.
For more information on Padua, visit here.