Businesses help spread some holiday cheer

Business Gives Back raised about $50,000 this year, bringing the total raised at the event over the last 20 years to almost $900,000.

Celebrity emcee Zack Spencer works the 200-member crowd at the Business Gives Back luncheon and auction Friday at the Barking Parrot. The event raised about $50

Celebrity emcee Zack Spencer works the 200-member crowd at the Business Gives Back luncheon and auction Friday at the Barking Parrot. The event raised about $50

About 200 business people turned out for the Business Gives Back luncheon last Friday, filling the Barking Parrot at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and helping make the annual fundraiser a success.

“All things considered, it was an overwhelming success. Our estimated gross revenues are going to be around $50,000,” said Gitta Schoenne, one of the organizers. That’s up over last year, when the revenues were about $46,000.

“This is our 20th year now. We’re pretty close to having raised over $900,000,” said Schoenne. “Such an amazing event.”

With such strong results, Schoenne expects they will be back for the 21st year next November.

“Every year, I say this is going to be the last, but it’s such a great event and we give so much back that how can we not,” she said. “Especially with the state of the economy and the cutbacks to the charities, it’s needed. So you do what you have to do.”

Each year, Schoenne said, they get requests for help from local organizations. But they are also helping out directly. They also are aiding two or three families with sick children this year.

In one case, the family has both parents staying with their child at B.C. Children’s Hospital right now.

“Their little two-month-old son was diagnosed a week-and-a-half ago with a serious form of cancer. She was on maternity, but he has had to leave work to be there with their son,” said Schoenne. “Those are the kind of things that make it all worth it. They don’t have a lot of hoops to jump through with us, and we can give them immediate assistance.”