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Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Sends Eleven Rescued Homeless Children on Vacation With the Help of Thrifty Car Rental, Woodfin Suites Hotels and Choice Hotels

Source: PrimeZone Media Network
Publication date: 2004-08-05

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 5, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- San Diego, CA – August 2004 – When travel expert Stephanie Abrams, host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show, “Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams!” on the Business Talk Radio Network, offered a prize stay at the Kensington Park Hotel in San Francisco to a listener lucky enough to be the fifth caller, Abrams had no idea of the chain of events to follow that would rally Woodfin Suites Hotels, Thrifty Car Rental, Choice Hotels and other travel industry suppliers around the prize winner. Libby Wright, who listens to Abrams show on KJLL AM 1330 in Tucson, Arizona, speaking to Abrams after the show, explained how thrilled she was to win this prize because she, “could use a rest” from the demanding role as Executive Director of The Giving Tree Outreach Program, an organization that Wright founded whose mission is to rescue homeless children from the streets of Tucson.

“As Libby began to describe what her organization does,” Abrams explains,” she told me that she had promised the eleven children living at Grace Home, a 7 bedroom house the organization operates, that they would all go to California this summer to stand on a beach and see the ocean for the first time. She told me that just that April morning, on the day she won her travel prize on my show, one of the volunteers at The Giving Tree expressed concern over the commitment since there seemed to be no chance of raising the funds to send eleven children and five chaperones from Tucson to California. I told Libby that I don't believe in accidents or coincidence and I was certain she had been ‘lucky caller number five' for a reason. That reason was that I could and would make that promise a reality for the children in her organization's care,” Abrams states.

Abrams efforts on behalf of the group resulted in Woodfin Suites of Cypress, California, located only minutes from Disneyland, and Woodfin Suites of San Diego, each provided 4 suites for 4 nights, a total of 32 room nights, for the group. “That is a company with a heart as big as their suites!” Abrams states. “I approached them because they offer all the comforts of home plus a huge daily buffet breakfast that looks like a banquet and their suites are large enough to provide spacious comfort. Penny Burich, Woodfin's Director of National Sales, also assisted in helping to get the group admissions to the San Diego Zoo and Animal Park as well,” Abrams explains. For the one night on the way to California, Abrams negotiated a “super-preferential” rate for the 4 rooms needed for the group at the Hampton Inn in Blythe, California and an additional 4 rooms for one night in the Los Angeles area which Choice Hotels provided complimentary.

When the organization's 15 passenger van did not pass inspection for the trip just 10 days before their July 30, 2004 departure, Wright called Abrams in a panic. “Facing the dilemma of a destination waiting to welcome them and no way to get there, I contacted Thrifty Car Rental and within 24 hours Bob Thunnel at their Tulsa headquarters confirmed 2 seven passenger vans with all charges pre-paid by Thrifty so that the only thing the group needed to do was put gas in the tanks! With that and one chaperone taking an additional car, they were almost all set,” Abrams notes.

What was missing was cash to pay for things like gas, food, admissions, and other travel expenses they would incur. To cover those costs, Abrams turned to Renee Werbin, publisher of Travelgirl magazine who made the introduction to the Morris Family Foundation. With a generous contribution from them and $500 the organization raised from the Ebay auction of a 7 night stay for 2 at the Ti-Kaye Village Resort in St. Lucia that Abrams donated to them, they now had what they needed to make the trip.

“On August 2nd, I got a call from Libby extolling the glories of the Woodfin Suites in Cypress and telling me that Justin, 10 years old, didn't sleep at all the night before. She put Justin on the phone who explained to me that he was, ‘too excited to sleep because we are going to the beach today.' It doesn't get better than that!” Abrams states.

As Abrams spread the word of the needs of the children for travel gear, contributions were sent to Tucson from many suppliers. Hertz sent suntan lotion, lip balm, water bottles and Hertz bears dressed for the beach. Club Med sent tee-shirts, Manufacturer's Direct provided mini-transistor radios, flashlights, and tee-shirts for each child, and Warren of California, a San Diego based manufacturer of travel security accessorites sent leather kiddies fannies packs for each of the children.

“The best part is that I surprised them along the way! I really needed to meet this very special group of kids and the wonderful people who care so much about enriching their lives with valuable experiences,” Abrams concludes.
Stephanie Abrams
Abrams Hospitality Marketing
“Travel With Stephanie Abrams!”

Stephanie B. Abrams