It was a day of pure magic.
Residents throughout the Okanagan took part in Wendy’s Dreamlift Day Wednesday and helped raise $108,610 for the Sunshine Foundation.
“The support has been overwhelming,” said Chiang Lee, vice-president of operations for the Wendy’s franchise in the Okanagan region.
The funds will help send children with physical disabilities or life-challenging illnesses to Disneyland.
“The event brings the community together for one cause. It’s priceless,” said Akbal Mund, a former Wendy’s partner, who volunteered at the Vernon restaurant.
“Life is precious and everyone wants to see kids have fun.”
Dignitaries were on scene taking orders, cooking burgers and directing traffic.
Rob Sawatzky, Vernon mayor, was left to clean tables in the dining room.
“It’s nothing new for this cowboy,” he said.
“I was the oldest of seven kids before there were modern conveniences.”
Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief, poured drinks.
“So far so good, I haven’t poisoned anyone,” he said.
The funds raised include the gross profits and salaries from the staff, management and ownership of the nine Wendy’s restaurants in the region.
“It’s a lot of fun working with the volunteers and giving to the children,” said Dorothy Schley, a guest courtesy leader at the Vernon restaurant.
Mary Dobslaff, a Wendy’s employee, was extremely motivated for Dreamlift Day after chaperoning some children to Disneyland in December.
“It’s completely different now because I have seen the finished product (trip) and I want to work harder,” she said.
While at Disneyland, the children were escorted by Orange County sheriffs, including Lt. Jeff Hallock, who was at the Vernon Wendy’s Wednesday.
“Everyone is talking about the event and it’s really exciting,” said Hallock of the community spirit.
There is always a long list of sheriffs wanting to escort children while they are at the Magic Kingdom.
“We all got into law enforcement because we want to help people and this is an opportunity to show people that it’s not all about sending people to jail. It’s about doing the right thing,” said Hallock.
In the last 20 years, Wendy’s Dreamlift Day has raised more than $1.3 million.