Adam Lord is all smiles as he gets a hug from the RCMP Safety Bear during Wendy's Dreamlift Day Wednesday. Adam participated in the Dreamlift trip to Disneyland nine years ago.

Adam Lord is all smiles as he gets a hug from the RCMP Safety Bear during Wendy's Dreamlift Day Wednesday. Adam participated in the Dreamlift trip to Disneyland nine years ago.

Wendy’s Dreamlift Day surpasses $1 million

Huge crowds turn out to help send special children to the Magic Kingdom



Generosity reached new heights Wednesday.

Wendy’s Dreamlift Day raised a record $114,276 throughout the Thompson-Okanagan Wednesday, pushing the cumulative total since 1995 to $1.1 million.

“We’ve done it and it’s great,” said Akbal Mund, with Inland Restaurants, which owns the nine Wendy’s restaurants in the region.

“When we started this, $1 million was never in our wildest dreams.”

The funds — which includes profits and staff and management wages for the day — will help the Sunshine Foundation take children with severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses to Disneyland for a day.

“Wow is the best description I can give you for another amazing Wendy’s Dreamlift Day,” said Steve Tuck, with the Sunshine Foundation.

“Thanks to all of the wonderful people who came out to share in this great experience.”

Mund gives credit to his staff, the volunteers and the public for the success of the fundraiser.

“People care about helping other people. It’s truly a community event.”

In Vernon, customers waited in lines that snaked their way out the door, while the drive-thru traffic backed out on to 27th Street at times.

“It’s a good cause and I love Wendy’s,” said Audrey Derkach as she patiently waited to get inside.

Behind the counter was entertaining at times as local celebrities and dignitaries helped out.

“My biggest fear is it falling over,” said Kiss FM’s Eryn Kleyh as she learned how to operate the beverage machine and then gently place the cup on a tray.

Over at the drive-thru window, Sun FM’s Brian Martin was critiquing Morning Star managing editor Glenn Mitchell’s drink skills.

“He’s quite possibly employee of the year material,” said Martin.

“He’s even been telling us what to do.”

In the dining room, customers visited with Lt. Robert Peterson, of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“The outpouring of love and support is overwhelming,” said Petersen, who has chaperoned children around Disneyland for the Dreamlift flight.

“On our end, we’re the recipients of the generosity of residents here.”

While Petersen is American and virtually everyone at Wendy’s was Canadian, he believes there are some common bonds that unite them.

“You don’t see a line or a border. We’re talking about humanity. We’re talking about the care of our children,” he said.

As part of this year’s fundraiser, Wendy Thomas toured the Okanagan, including Vernon Tuesday.

“To see the whole management team and the employees give up their wages for the day and the community come out shows what kind of a community Vernon is,” said Thomas, whose dad, Dave, founded Wendy’s and named the business after her.

“It’s all about giving back to the community.”

The next Dreamlift flight to Disneyland is scheduled for late 2013.