Okanagan residents can make spirits soar for a special group of children.
The 17th annual Wendy’s Dreamlift Day goes Wednesday and all proceeds will help send 80 kids with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses to Disneyland.
“It’s not a Wendy’s event. It’s a community event,” said Akbal Mund, with Inland Restaurants, which owns the nine Wendy’s in the Thompson-Okanagan.
Almost $100,000 was raised throughout the region last year, and huge crowds are expected to ring up the cash registers again this year.
“It’s the most fabulous day in the valley,” said Steve Tuck, with the Sunshine Foundation of Canada, which organizes the Dreamlift flights to Disneyland.
“People will wait in line and it’s all because of this cause. People have really embraced this cause.”
During Wendy’s Dreamlift Day, all the proceeds from the day’s sales, as well as restaurant staff, management and owner’s wages, will go to Dreamlift flights.
“The philanthropy by Inland Restaurants is unparalleled,” said Tuck.
“I can’t say enough good about these people.”
Besides Wendy’s staff, local celebrities and dignitaries will be working behind the scenes. In Vernon, they will include city politicians, the RCMP, the Vernon Vipers, paramedics and staff from The Morning Star.
Also visiting Wendy’s restaurants will be representatives from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Anaheim, Calif. The sheriffs act as escorts when the children are touring the Magic Kingdom.
Lt. Robert Peterson will be at the Vernon Wendy’s.
The next Dreamlift flight is scheduled for later this year, and the experience is overwhelming for children who face some serious health issues.
“We take them out of their world for a day,” said Tuck.
Mund went on last year’s flight.
“You get to see how energized the kids are about their adventure at Disneyland,” he said.
“The highlight was watching the Main Street Electrical Parade and the kids didn’t want to leave.”
Mund is urging everyone to come out and support Wendy’s Dreamlift Day.
“If you want to eat somewhere that day, eat at Wendy’s because it’s a great cause,” said Mund.