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20 years of Dreamlift

Update -- Jan. 30

Wendy’s DreamLift Day was another rousing success, bringing in over $100,000 at the one-day event.

They raised $108,610.35 from the nine Okanagan locations, and over the past 20 years have raised an accumulative total of $1,332,995.20.

Numerous volunteers donated their time on Wednesday by preparting food, cleaning tables and helping out behind the scenes.

All money from food sales – including gross wages and salaries from all the staff, management and ownership from Wendy’s restaurants in Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton – were included in the total.

Original story -- Jan. 29

For the last 20 years Wendy's in the southern interior of BC turns the last Wednesday of January from a snowy and chilly day into something a little more warm and inviting,  'Dreamlift Day'.

Sales made from Dreamlift Day along with wages from staff and management at the nine Wendy's locations are donated to the Sunshine Foundation, who in turn host the Dreamlift to Disneyland.

Since 1995, the restaurants have raised $1,224,078 and each year the donations increase.

Once every two years a group of children between the ages of three and 18 who are challenged by severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses will hop on a plane and fly to California for a Disney adventure.

The southern interior franchises were recently taken over by Ken Park, who attended his first Dreamlift to Disneyland experience this past December.

Park says it was an an amazing experience watching the children come off the plane, with smiles on their faces.

"We had six school buses waiting for them and over 120 volunteers from the Orange Country Sheriff's department who were waving and greeting them. The children were just so excited to be a part of that day."

Two sheriff's from Orange Country flew up to the Okanagan for Dreamlift Day, to help support the Sunshine Foundation and meet those who volunteer their time and money to make the day a reality.

Marilynn MacDougall with the Orange Country Sheriff's has been a part of the Dreamlift flight since its inception and most recently has been coming to Canada to help out with Dreamlift Day.

"It is always such fun to be up here and watch the exuberance of this community come together and make this day happen for these kids."

MacDougall also expressed her excitement for the people she's met in the Okanagan when she attends Dreamlift Day.

"What a wonderful group of people, I now have friends who walk in and recognize me because I have been here before, which is really fun," she says. "A couple of ladies I will see later today, came and ate lunch the first year I was up here and now they are volunteering. They tease me and ask if I am moving up here."

Todd Lewis with Park Inland Restaurants says there are well over 1,000 volunteers at the nine locations, including former staff members who return just to help with Dreamlift.

"We have around 400 to 500 staff members as well, and volunteers who include BC Ambulance, the fire department,  a huge contingent of athletes from UBCO and countless other groups such as church groups."

The next Wendy's Dreamlift flight to Disneyland will take place in December of 2015.



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