There were bright smiles and hearts full of giving spirit at the tenth annual Drive Thru Breakfast for the United Way on Wednesday morning in Penticton, with locals driving through to donate and pick up a piping hot meal.
Local businesses and emergency services came by to help volunteer at the drive thru, handing out goodies and collecting donations that benefit around 20 programs throughout Penticton and the South Okanagan.
“Our drive thru is one of our signature fundraising events,” Kahir Lalji, spokesperson for United Way British Columbia, said.
“It's really an opportunity for the community to come out to rally behind a good cause to support those in their own neighbourhoods that may need a little bit more help during this time.”
Locals came through the Penticton Lakeside Resort from 6:30 a.m. until 9 a.m.
“We've kind of reconfigured and kept the organization, the flow going, we weren't sure about the turnout, because again, COVID has just kept everything a little ambiguous. But we're just so grateful that this has been one of the most fruitful turnouts,” Elizabeth Cucnik, GM of the Penticton Lakeside Resort & Convention Centre said.
“So we're seeing it with incredible communal organizations such as emergency shelters, daycare facilities, extracurricular activities for children and clubs. So the impact of this organization is absolutely significant and phenomenal.”
Both Lalji and Cucnik shared that the generosity from the community this year was truly outstanding.
“We're really feeling that it's just such an incredible positive vibe here, unlike I have felt in several years. I mean, it's just amazing. So we're so grateful,” Cucnik said.
“The last couple years have shown us anything, yes, it's been tricky with a pandemic, and with the fires and the floods that have plagued our communities. But we've also seen the passion and the drive of community,” Lalji added. “What a way to mark our tenth annual drive thru to see a record turnout.”
By the time the drive thru was wrapping up at 9 a.m. the organization had raised over $22,500.
“We've seen a heightened need in our communities here in the South Okanagan, everything from access to food, to ensuring our children and youth in our communities are set up for success to supporting those that may be having some mental health challenges during this time,” Lalji said.
“And it's really inspiring to see how people have come out to just give from their hearts.”
To get involved in United Way and find more information about their organization, visit their website here.