Popular Dreamlift Day grounded

Wendy’s Dreamlift Day comes to an end as a fundraiser for the Sunshine Foundation of Canada.

Orange County Cal. Sheriff Mike Toledo with Nate Morgan (left) and Daniel Leclair and Queen's Park Elementary School principal Rob Zoppi on DreamLift Day last January in Penticton. Park Inland Restaurants which operates the nine Interior franchises has apparently decided to no longer host the annual fundraiser which helps send kids with disabilities to Disneyland.

Orange County Cal. Sheriff Mike Toledo with Nate Morgan (left) and Daniel Leclair and Queen's Park Elementary School principal Rob Zoppi on DreamLift Day last January in Penticton. Park Inland Restaurants which operates the nine Interior franchises has apparently decided to no longer host the annual fundraiser which helps send kids with disabilities to Disneyland.

A popular charity event that allowed local children with physical disabilities and life-threatening illnesses to fly to Disneyland for a day of worry-free fun has been grounded.

Wendy’s Dreamlift Day fundraiser is over and it’s still unclear whether dollars raised in its name earlier this year will see any local kids get a chance to get aboard a plane and soar away to Disneyland, as planned.

The fundraiser has been a community staple for 20 years and saw Wendy’s restaurants in Penticton, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Vernon donate a day’s worth of profits and wages  to the Sunshine Foundation of Canada, which then sent Okanagan kids with a variety of challenges to Disneyland.

The last fundraiser brought in $108,000, and a flight out of Kelowna, destined for Disneyland, was expected to be on the books for January 2015, given that flights have historically left the valley en route to Disneyland every second year and the last one happened in 2013. The Orange County Sheriff’s department, which lends members to help local kids as they disembark the planes for a Disney adventure, has indicated that they’ve been told that their help is not needed this year.

Sunshine Foundation of Canada representatives have failed to answer calls about this matter, however, a foundation communications officer  indicated to Black Press, that something was in the works. However, Sunshine Foundation has not indicated how it will continue to serve Interior youth or if Dreamlift flights from the region will continue.

“We certainly hope that there will be more Sunshine Dreamlifts serving kids in the Okanagan,” said Tristan Joseph, Sunshine Foundation of Canada communications officer.

“At this point, we don’t have definitive information on when that might be. Sunshine will continue to fulfill individual dreams for kids in the Okanagan.”

As for the fundraiser, it will still happen, just for a different cause.

“Now it’s time to help out other groups in need,” said Wendy’s chain owner Ken Park.

“We are going to shift our charitable giving to align with the other 51 Wendy’s restaurants in B.C., the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.”

Park said that as a father to two teenagers, the idea of children not having a home is particularly heart wrenching, and that’s why he’s shifting gears.

It’s still an unexpected shift.

When Park bought the restaurant chain from  John Tietzen, who founded Dreamlift Days in 1995 and is also the former co-owner of Township 7 Winery, he said Dreamlift Day wasn’t going anywhere.

“I spent the entire day watching, observing and learning. I thought: Wow, this is nothing like I’ve seen before … there is a lot of emotional attachment to this event,” Park told a Black Press reporter in 2013.

Park admits that he did say the tradition would carry on when he first took the company’s reins, but he doesn’t have any second thoughts about initiating the change, pointing out that the children that will be helped by the charity are also in the community.

“We remain focused and committed to giving to the community,” he said. “I hope our community still supports Wendy’s. We are still going to donate our wages, and have an event, we’re just giving to a different group.”

Over its 20-year-run the event raised over $1.4-million dollars, and enlisted the help of countless community members.

 

Just Posted

(Jennifer Smith/Black Press file photo)
Poll: Should Penticton hold Canada Day celebrations this year?

The spotlight on residential schools has caused the rethinking of Canada Day

Spiritleaf, Penticton’s first cannabis retailer opened in 2019. (Western News File)
Penticton expands cannabis store hours to match liquor stores

Cannabis stores are now allowed to operate until 11 p.m. in Penticton

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Hot and cold water have different pouring sounds

Your morning start for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

(Facebook)
New trial date set in Penticton for Thomas Kruger-Allen’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

Spread out on the staircase of the Kelowna courthouse on June 10, 2021, were several signs with messages calling for justice against Curtis Sagmoen and an end to violence. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News file)
Sagmoen cop assault trial set for 2022

Pre-trial conference set to start process Jan. 26, 2022

Kayla Rogall, a Summerland singer-songwriter, has released three singles. The songs can be found on her website at kaylamariemusic.com and on most music streaming platforms. (Contributed)
Summerland songwriter’s music an expression of emotion

Kayla Rogall has released three singles

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

Most Read