Generosity has overflowed again.
A record $115,027 was raised Wednesday at Wendy’s Dreamlift Day in the Okanagan, Kamloops and Salmon Arm. Over 19 years, $1.22 million has been collected to send children with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses to Disneyland.
“People know someone who has gone on the flight and they can draw the connection,” said Akbal Mund, an area partner with Wendy’s.
“It’s a community that looks after each other.”
All of the profits and staff and management wages Wednesday went to the Sunshine Foundation, which organizes the trips to the Magic Kingdom.
“There’s nothing else like it,” said Steve Tuck, with the foundation.
“Dreams really come true. People can be a philanthropist just by purchasing a meal.”
Along with Wendy’s staff, local dignitaries volunteered their time to handle the steady crowd.
“People are in good spirits and it’s a lot of fun,” said Gord Molendyk, Vernon RCMP spokesperson.
While Molendyk generally deals with the media, he found himself directing drive-thru traffic.
“It’s a skill you don’t forget. I was a police officer for 25 years,” he said.
Other law enforcement was also on scene as Vernon Winter Carnival cop Ron Morgan made the rounds through the restaurant.
“I didn’t arrest anyone,” he laughed.
Behind the counter, Keith Green, Vernon fire chief, was trying to keep salad orders straight.
“They are keeping me in line pretty good,” he said of Wendy’s staff who provided guidance to volunteers.
There was boundless energy as Kristi Vassberg bounced her way around the dining room, handing out balloons.
“I like to help people,” said the Grade 3 Hillview Elementary student.
This is Kristi’s second year volunteering.
“She loves helping make a difference. I’m very impressed,” said mom Karin Vassberg, who also lent a hand by clearing off tables and greeting guests.
Wednesday’s fundraiser has ensured the next flight to Disneyland will occur later this year.
“There’s a lot of caring people in this community,” said Mund.
“It’s shocking that after 19 years, we can still raise these kinds of funds and generate this support.”