Innkeepers cut rates to benefit Habitat for Humanity

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FREEPORT — As a way to promote spring travel and help support Habitat for Humanity, local inns will slash their rates in April and May.

The program is in its seventh year and has been a growing success, said Greg Dugal, executive director of the Maine Innkeepers Association. Dugal said a significant portion of the funds raised this year will be distributed to Habitat for Humanity projects in Haiti.

“People forget about the major tragedies after a while,” he said. “We know it will take years to rebuild the homes destroyed in Haiti and hopefully some of the money we raise will make a difference.”

The program, “Hospitality for Habitat,” raised about $4,000 when it started in 2004, Dugal said. Last year, the properties raised $16,000, and over the past seven years, more than $30,000 has been raised to benefit Habitat projects.

Some of the inns participating in the program include the Captain Briggs House Bed & Breakfast, the Hilton Garden Downtown and the White Cedar Inn, all in Freeport, and the Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth. There are 27 establishments participating throughout Maine this year, he said, including inns in Bar Harbor, Bass Harbor, Newcastle, Ogunquit, Wells, Ellsworth, Kennebunkport, Sebago and Deer Isle.

Rates at each of the participating inns will be reduced by 50 percent from April 26 to May 28 in exchange for a $35 donation to Habitat for Humanity. Dugal said the $35 donation is for the duration of the stay, not per night, although some visitors decide to give more.

“Charitable tourism has grown in popularity since we started this program,” he said. “It is encouraging to know that even during difficult economic times, people still donate money for  those in need.”

Dugal said everyone wins with a program like “Hospitality for Habitat.”

“The inns see more business, Habitat receives funding, and families in need get a home,” he said.

For more details, visit the Maine Innkeepers Web site and click on the “Hospitality for Habitat” logo.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]