Over the top is how organizers described Wednesday’s third annual United Way Drive Thru campaign kickoff breakfast at the Lakeside Resort.
According to executive director Shelley Gilmore, at the Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen United Way, a last minute cheque from Patricia Ward raised the total to $11,360, topping the 2013 amount by several hundred dollars.
“We are very exhausted but over-the-top excited that we beat last year,” said Gilmore, who also announced this year’s campaign goal of $1.5 million at the breakfast. “This community is just amazing. The energy and enthusiasm that was there this morning, the volunteers there was literally a small army of them from Penticton and surrounding areas.
“It just shows there is a lot of pride in their community and really wanting to embrace the United Way and help us make a difference in their own backyard.”
Gilmore noted the average give per breakfast this year was up 50 per cent from 2013 to $12 a bag.
This current campaign goal is up considerably from the actual achieved dollar amount of just under $1.2 million last year and for good reason.
“It’s not just raising the number for the sake of raising it, it’s because of the demand,” said Gilmore. “We see a lot of agencies we aren’t able to support and we want to change that.”
Among the volunteers out on Wednesday was Rob Cresswell who was at the Lakeside entrance with Scotiabank teammates Norma Lewis and Vivian Parenteau.
If Creswell’s various antics on the street weren’t enough to entice people in to the breakfast, it at least put a smile on the faces of passersby.
“We have to be the spokespersons to get the message out in the community and I believe in doing that and we’re having fun doing it,” he said. “I’ve used the United Way resources in the past and it is dear to my heart and I’ve been supporting them for the last 20 years.”
Cheryl Cowling was just one of the hundreds of people who stopped by, saying it was a great way to get a good breakfast in a hurry and support a good cause at the same time.
“It’s huge (United Way’s help) and helps all ages and every category so it’s wonderful to get behind,” said Cowling. “and if you’re too busy like me to do your hair and make up to get to work and you don’t have time to eat, it’s fantastic.”
Donations to the United Way can be made at www.unitedwaycso.com or at the TD Bank on Main Street in Penticton.