The fourth annual Parade with a Purpose was in Kelowna on Saturday evening with 25 light-up floats cruising the streets of Kettle Valley, spreading holiday cheer and raising money for the Bridge Youth and Recovery House.
After losing two loved ones to the overdose crisis, the Turgeon and Doty family put their plan into action and have watched the Parade with a Purpose gain support year after year.
“Our family has experienced an extreme amount of adversity. We have lost two family members to overdose as a result of addiction, so our goal is to gather the community together to raise awareness for the Bridge as it’s a deep-seated passion of ours given our life experience," said Shadia Doty.
"But we want to make sure that these types of tragedies don’t happen to other children, so with the proper tools and psychotherapy and a purpose-built building so they can recover in solace and peace and surrounded by the community, that’s our goal.”
With countless lights flashing and Christmas music playing, large groups of families were out on the streets cheering and taking in the warmth of the Christmas spirit.
Businesses from all around town were able to sign up for the parade and promote their business with a float. Those donations, along with the help from the community, went a long way.
Organizer Clint Doty tells Castanet their lofty goal of raising $100,000 put him into a mindset to raise the stakes and put on the best parade and light show to date.
“Last year, once we set such a high fundraising goal, I thought it was my job to really deliver a parade," said Clint.
"Last year I would have to guess there were at least 1,000 people out on the street. I’m expecting [something] similar to the same today, and in the future I hope it keeps growing and growing throughout every community in the Okanagan."
Founder Pam Turgeon says the campaign helps "put their pain to purpose" and gives the family a reason to celebrate what can often be a difficult time of year for a lot of families.
“What a better way to do it in our community and in Kelowna. We have lots of wonderful people that stepped on board to be a part of this parade and we want to thank each and every one of them,” Turgeon said.
“We have a lot of gratitude in our hearts for everybody that’s involved. Our family — everybody is in costume — we give it 110 per cent and we hope everyone enjoys this wonderful event, and we ask that you please donate.”
Due to its significant growth over the last four years, the Parade with a Purpose could be moving outside of Kettle Valley for Christmas next year, but that is yet to be determined.
Donations to The Bridge can be made here.