Used duvets from Bacara resort become clothing for orphans

Somewhere in Guatemala, orphans are running around wearing colorful outfits that may look familiar to former hotel guests of Santa Barbara area's Bacara Resort and Spa.

That is because the outfits were made from used hotel duvets donated by the upscale resort.

The donations are another example of how some hotels are helping to turn their used linens, towels and bathroom amenities into donations for the needy. A Florida organization, Clean the World, has distributed more than 20 million bars of soap to poor people in 96 countries by collecting and recycling used soap from hotels.

Bacara teamed up with Direct Relief, a medical relief group based in Goleta, which transformed up to 400 donated duvets into outfits for children, as well as bags, blankets and washcloths. The hotel had already been donating linen to the group to be made into rolls of bandages by a group of women known as the “Holy Rollers.”

There are unexpected business considerations to such charitable efforts.

“Guests find this endearing and it creates loyalty, which helps bring guests coming back,” said Kathleen Cochran, the resort’s managing director.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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