It's that time of year again. Not holidays, shoulder season or spring, but that time of the year for the Kid's First Fund Great Online Travel Auction (www.kidsfirstauction.com). Starting Thursday, March 15, 2007, in conjunction with eBay, Kid's First Fund (www.kidsfirstfund.org), the brainchild of travel consultant Jay Sorensen, is hosting its fourth annual online auction to benefit neglected, abandoned, and sexually and physically abused children in the Baltics.
Sorensen hopes to surpass the $26,000 raised last year by luring bidders with a potpourri of practical and luxurious travel items. A first for the auction, this year's items go on the block for a starting price of .99 cents.
"There are some very strong travel deals in this year's auction," says Sorensen.
Sorensen's serious. Items on the block include:
- Air Baltic: Travel on a direct flight to any destination on this Latvian airline.
- Air Berlin: Travel to any destination served including the Mediterranean.
- Air Canada: Travel to any destination in Canada or the U.S., including Hawaii.
- AirTran Airways: Business and coach travel to any destination in the U.S.
- Alaska Airlines: Travel to any destination, including Mexico and Canada.
- American Airlines AAdvantage: Frequent flier miles.
- American Trans Air: Travel within the United States, Hawaii and Mexico.
- Avis Rent a Car: 7-day car rental anywhere worldwide.
- Budget Rent a Car: 7-day car rental anywhere worldwide.
- Condor: Travel between the U.S. and Frankfurt.
- Delta Air Lines: Travel to any destination worldwide.
- Delta SkyMiles: Frequent flier miles.
- Flybaboo Airlines: Travel roundtrip between Geneva and Nice.
- Fosshotel Iceland: 3 nights at any location in Iceland.
- Frontier Airlines: Travel to any domestic U.S. destination.
- Funjet Vacations: Travel on a Value Flight between Chicago and Cancun.
- Hawaii Superferry: Inter-island car ferry package for 4 persons and one vehicle.
- Hilton Hotels: 2 nights at any Hilton HHonors participating hotel in the continental U.S.
- Icelandair: Travel from North America to any destination, including Europe.
- InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: 4 nights at the Nickelodeon Family Suites in Orlando, and 2 weekend nights at the Crowne Plaza Hilton Head Beach Resort.
- Japan Airlines: Imported porcelain Hakata doll.
- JetBlue: Travel to any destination, including the Caribbean and Mexico.
- Lake Michigan Carferry: Travel on the S.S. Badger.
- Marcus Hotels and Resorts: 2 nights at the InterContinental Milwaukee with dinner.
- Mercure by Accor Hotels: 3-night stay at the Mercure Paris Suffren Tour Eiffel Hotel.
- Midwest Airlines: Travel within the United States and Canada.
- Monarch Airlines: Travel between Great Britain and holiday destinations in Europe.
- Sofitel Hotels & Resorts: 3-night stay at the Sofitel Trocadero Hotel in Paris.
- Spirit Airlines: Travel to any destination, including the Caribbean.
- Swiss International Air Lines: Travel between the U.S. and Zurich, or Geneva.
- United Airlines Mileage Plus: Frequent flier miles.
- Virgin Atlantic Airways: Travel between the U.S. and London, England.
- Virgin Blue Airlines: Travel on eastern domestic routes in Australia.
- Vueling Airlines: Travel to any destination on this Spanish airline.
- Xanterra Parks and Resorts: 2-night stay at the Maswik Lodge at the Grand Canyon.
Money raised from this year's auction will go to the building of a family shelter in the depressed Latgale Region of Latvia. The shelter will be the first ever built in the country.
Why the interest in Latvia? Eleven years ago, Sorensen and his wife adopted two boys from the northern European nation that borders Estonia and Lithuania.
"We wanted to give something back to the country that gave us so much," he says. "We also wanted our boys to have a strong connection to the country where they were born."
Kid's Fund First was recently granted special consultative status by the United Nations, meaning Sorensen and his board can contribute and impact policy on issues related to children's rights worldwide. With that in mind, Sorensen has plans for Kid's First Fund to help abused children in other countries.
"We're developing the fund to start branching out to other countries," says Sorensen, who is turning all his attention to making this year's auction a successful one. "I hope combining travel with helping people drives some high bidding."
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