- Kristin Finan American-Statesman Staff
As she walked into the Renaissance Suite at the Driskill Hotel on Tuesday night, 6-year-old Adeline Jones’ jaw dropped.
“This is like a princess bed!” she said as she surveyed the room. “I love this place! I want to stay here forever!”
It was a magical night and a first-ever vacation for Adeline and her mom, Nikki Jones, 35, who has a rare disorder called common variable immune deficiency that makes her highly susceptible to life-threatening infections and makes it difficult to leave the house.
On tap for the evening? Dipping chocolate-covered strawberries with Driskill Executive Pastry Chef Tony Sansalone — Adeline wore a chef hat and apron over her sparkly black dress for the occasion — ordering room service (grilled cheese for Adeline, surf and turf for Mom), jumping on the bed and, most importantly, serving as the official tree lighters at the Driskill Holiday Tree Lighting celebration.
Driskill General Manager Lance Stumpf said he was honored the Jones family could experience “the magic of the season and the magic of this hotel during that season.”
Nikki and Adeline Jones are part of Statesman Season for Caring program, which highlights the needs of 12 families in our community and helps hundreds of others through local nonprofit agencies. The Jones family was nominated by Wonders & Worries, which helps children cope with a parent’s illness.
The tree-lighting also highlighted the third annual Cookies for Caring event, which benefits Season for Caring. Pastry chefs from some of Austin’s finest hotels and restaurants donate their specialty cookies.
For $35, you can go from table to table at the Driskill Hotel ballroom on Dec. 10 and fill your tin with Austin original cookies.
Expect to see chefs from these places:
More restaurants are being added.
The event has become a popular way to donate to Statesman Season for Caring, selling out the first two years. This year, only 300 tins are available and the event is expected to raise about $8,000.
It’s a fitting way for the Driskill to give back to the community. The hotel, built in 1886, was going to be demolished in 1969 until a bake sale and $10 shares sold to the community saved it. “It’s paying homage to that it’s the community’s hotel and that’s how we treat it,” Driskill Executive Chef Troy Knapp said when the Driskill launched the first Cookies for Caring in 2015. “It’s all about giving back to the community.”
The Jones family still needs the community’s help. They need help with food delivery service; H-E-B, Papa John’s and gas gift cards; patio furniture and new awning for the backyard; colorful bandages that make it fun for Adeline to be a helper during her mom’s infusions; a new oven; a new gutter and downspout for the front of the house; foundation repair for the house; and new toothbrushes because Jones must replace hers frequently.
To find out more about the Jones family or to give an item on their wish list, contact Wonders & Worries, 512-329-5757, wondersandworries.org.