first_img Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Share TravelOnly agents spearhead much-needed fundraising for Caribbean TORONTO — This year has been difficult for many of those living in the Caribbean islands, with hurricanes, floods and earthquakes creating disastrous conditions where Canadian travellers often visit during the winter months. TravelOnly agents Karen Gill, Marie Odorizzi, Sharon Loppie and Pat Probert, having spent time in many of these destinations, decided there was no question that they needed to act. As a result, the generosity of the travel agent community was on full display earlier this month at the year-end TravelOnly training conference.“We kept asking ourselves, what would we do if this happened to our families,” says Gill, who worked with the team on founding ‘Travel Agents Care’ ( with a simple mission: Travel agents working together to help those in need from around the world.For their first campaign, Travel Agents Care focused on raising money for Global Medic ( Global Medic provides emergency relief to those affected by natural disasters and complex emergencies.With a goal of raising $5,000, the team reached out to their travel network and set up team captains across the country to promote the fundraising efforts and collect supplies for those countries in need.On Saturday, the Travel Agents Care team invited Rahul Singh, Founder and Executive Director of Global Medic, to speak to the agents. Singh spoke about how Global Medic has assisted thousands of residents of the Caribbean islands over the years and how so much more effort is required throughout the area.With that, Travel Agents Care revealed that they had raised over $6,700 for Global Medic. The group has also collected thousands of dollars worth of supplies and is allocating a portion of the donations to help purchase water purification kits for those in need.The Travel Agents Care initiative is a global one. Executive Member Sharon Loppie and a team of travel professionals provided donations to orphanages and schools in northern Thailand. They will in turn travel high up in the mountains in northern Thailand to distribute supplies to those in need. Pictured here (from left to right) are: Marilisa De Simone, Carnival Cruise Line; Kelly Neonakis-Morash, TravelOnly; Debbie Cairns, TravelOnly; Sharon Loppie, TravelOnly; and representatives from the orphanages and schools in northern Thailand.Loppie and a group of travel professionals from Eastern Canada have also been delivering some of those supplies and goods to Thailand, making Travel Agent Cares a truly global success.Many in the room on Saturday felt inspired to do more, including TravelOnly agents Pat Probert and Mary de Almeida, who challenged their colleagues to raise additional funds which they matched up to an $1,000 personal donation.It was at that moment that everyone realized that this wasn’t just a small charity function but a real movement in the travel agent community, says TravelOnly’s VP Retail Sales & Business Development, Ian Elliott.The movement doesn’t stop there, he added. The team has extended the donation deadline for Global Medic by another four weeks while it prepares for the next campaign, NCL charity ‘Hope Starts Here’ where NCL will match donations dollar for dollar, up to $1.25 million.Singh commended the team on its efforts so far. “It is heartwarming to see the travel community rally together and raise funds for families affected by the Hurricanes,” he said. “GlobalMedic is proud to partner and receive those funds. We’ll deliver desperately needed aid to help families recover.”As Gill and Odorizzi explain ,their hope is that over time, Travel Agents Care will continue giving back to many countries and communities in need, including in our own backyards. “Every act of kindness goes a long way. Our vision is to keep reaching out and helping those in desperate need by donating funds and items to help in these situations.” Posted bycenter_img Tags: TravelOnly Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img