For Penticton resident Derek George, getting involved with the South Okanagan Women in Need Society and their Walk to End Abuse was an easy decision—his family has experienced the cycle of abuse in the past.
“If we can help our community and the people who live here through small donations and other support, it is our way of giving back to the community who give to us,” said George when speaking with Diane Fru, a SOWINS volunteer and this year’s main organizer for the walk. “We have been doing this since we arrived in Penticton.”
George owns the Penticton Boston Pizza and is using the restaurant to host Boston Pizza Raises Dough for SOWINS, a fundraising event on May 10 to benefit the Walk to End Abuse, scheduled for June 2. This is not the first time George has been involved with the South Okanagan-based charity, which provides shelter, safety and support to individuals who have experienced or at risk of experiencing violence or abuse.
“(George and his team at Boston Pizza) have prepared and delivered meals for women staying in the Transition House and Safe Exit Centre, and have had women from the Transition House and their families in for dinner in an environment where they could feel safe and secure,” said Fru. “In the past, they have also offered to give women in the employment program a work experience opportunity in their kitchen and have offered up assistance to women who are involved in a move.”
According to Lindsay Tice, assistant general manager at the Penticton restaurant, George’s employees are excited about the opportunity to participate in this fundraiser and are also hoping to put a team in to participate in the walk.
“We have multiple staff hoping to put together a larger team so that we can do the walk as well,” said Tice. “We have staff who are super excited to be involved in the launch, they want to serve for it. But they want to get involved and hand out water bottles or anything else at the actual event as well.”
Tickets for the Raise the Dough event, which are available at the restaurant, are $20 and include one appetizer and beer or wine from the restaurant’s menu. Tice said Boston Pizza will be reserving its entire lounge side for the event, which runs from 7 p.m. to closing on May 10.
The evening will feature a live DJ, a 50/50 draw, a silent auction featuring donated items from other businesses and more. In addition, an anonymous donor has stepped forward and pledged to match all donations received that evening.
“Ryan Michael Magic will be performing that evening, and he’s donating his time to do that. He’s an outstanding magician, people who don’t believe in magic do after they see his show,” said Fru. “We will also have Michael Tarrant emceeing the evening.”
Boston Pizza’s commitment to the Walk to End Abuse won’t stop once the Raise the Dough fundraiser has passed. Tice said the restaurant will be passing out slips advertising the upcoming walk to customers.
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