Galina Labun, of United Way (right), alongside Paul Vanderberg and Terri Mitchell, with Stutters DKI Restoration, who volunteered at the annual United Way drive-thru breakfast Thursday morning. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

A record-breaking breakfast for United Way in Vernon

The figures are in, and this year’s United Way drive-thru breakfast earned more donations than ever

The drizzly weather did nothing to slow the traffic at the Prestige Vernon Lodge Hotel during United Way’s 18th annual drive-thru breakfast on Thursday morning.

This year’s fundraiser earned a record-breaking $16,134, about $2,000 more than its previous high-water mark.

“For a community to raise that in three hours is pretty amazing,” said Tracy Williamson, Community Engagement Manager with United Way.

Folks supporting the fundraiser could stay warm and dry in their vehicles as United Way members and other volunteers handed them Tim Hortons coffee, scones from Cobs Bread Bakery and a breakfast bag packed with fruit bars, yogurt, a juice box, potato chips, a toothbrush, discount coupons and other goodies.

Some big-ticket items were stuffed into a few bags at random, including a Predator Ridge golf getaway package worth hundreds of dollars, donated by the golf course. One breakfast buyer also received a two-night stay at the Prestige Waterfront Resort in Sooke, while another scored a one-night stay with $50 restaurant credit at the Prestige Vernon Lodge.

The support stays local, with donations going to United Way’s community fund which supports more than 20 local charities and more than 25,000 children, families and seniors in the North Okanagan.

“The need for donations to support the charities that we support is always greater than the amount we have to give, so we’re always trying to build that community fund,” said Jude Brunt, community investment manager for United Way.

Brunt says they need to grow the fund by abut 30 per cent to be able to meet the grant requests they have from the 20 local charities they support.

By 8 a.m., United Way had already earned $10,800, which surpassed last year’s total with an hour still to go in the drive-thru. The most the drive-thru had ever earned prior to this year was just over $14,000.

READ MORE: Donation of life-saving devices honours memory of Salmon Arm student

Cars pulled through between 6 and 9 a.m., where United Way members like Galina Labun gave them a warm welcome and a “thank you” along with their breakfast bag.

“This is the great set-up,” Labun said as cars pulled in on either side of the Vernon Lodge’s main driveway.

“They’ve got it all figured out, it flows beautifully, we have traffic both ways and as you can see we have so many different delegations representing our beautiful city.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and we actually had somebody for the first time waiting until the doors opened. They were waiting for 15 minutes to make their very first donation.

“United Way was really close and special to their hearts, so it was really fantastic to witness that and to greet them.”

The Vernon Vipers were among the volunteers on deck, directing traffic to the Lodge parking lot and handing out coffee and their season schedule.

Nixon Wenger LLP was among the larger sponsors, pre-purchased 80 bags online. VantageOne Credit Union was another big sponsor and Tim Hortons provided coffee and snacks for staff and supporters.

READ MORE: Fundraiser started for Vernon family after devastating house fire

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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