- Published: 08 February 2011
|Local Wendy’s management team joined visiting Orange County Sheriffs to celebrate a new record for Wendy’s DreamLift Day|
An Amazing Event
Wendys DreamLift Day raised a record $109,382.45 in one day, Wednesday, January 26, 2011. This is a day of unparalleled philanthropy in that at 9 Wendys restaurants from Kamloops to Salmon Arm to Vernon to Kelowna to West Kelowna to Penticton, all the staff and management wages and all the profits for the day go to this charity, Sunshine Foundation – Dreams for Kids.
By Steven Tuck
Since this annual event began, the total has now reached $995,080.64. Furthermore, this has been sustained for 17 years, and not just continued, but grew every single year.
There are many components to this success, however one thing is clear --- people have embraced this fund raising day. The stories over the years attest to their commitment --- piggy banks brought in to help out; parents who bring their children so they learn something about being charitable; people who adjust their day, just so they can support this cause. “Adjusting” like waiting in line for a lot longer than they would normally, and one couple told me they had come in for lunch but left because of how long the line was --- only to return for dinner because this was one annual event they wouldn’t miss. Another whole family came, along with their Sunshine child, and joined the staff at their local Wendys because they wanted to give something back in return for the experience their son had on a DreamLift.
The Orange County Sheriffs have been coming up from sunny (warm) California to increase awareness of this event. They are an integral part of the DreamLift in that they pair up with the children when they arrive in Anaheim, thus allowing fewer caregivers to be on the plane for the flight down. They give up days off, and even book off “sick”, just to be able to participate. They say it is a great experience for them to be doing something so different from what they normally do!
The VIP’s come out in droves --- MP’s, MLA’s, RCMP, firemen, mayors, and the list of high profile people who volunteer to pour drinks, flip burgers, even sweep the floors, just keeps getting longer and longer every year. Media folks, from publishers to our favorite weatherman, to just about every name in their profession, also come out to work with the other VIP’s and are warmly greeted by their fans. They are co-ordinated by Sunshine, SaveOnFoods, and TELUS Community Ambassador volunteers at each restaurant.
The media, too, have embraced this cause and it has gained more notoriety through their support than perhaps any other fund raising event. This year, one of the media replied to our “thank you” with a heartwarming reply --- No, THANK YOU, for taking us out of what we normally report on.
In my own opinion, I think that’s one of the keys to the outstanding success of this day --- it gives everyone a chance to do something good. In this world, where we sometimes seem surrounded by negative happenings, this is a day when a charitable act gets to be realized in Dreams.
Anyone who has experienced the DreamLift knows that for every one of the children who flies to Disneyland, the day is truly magical. One trip I watched a little boy falling asleep in his wheelchair as he was waiting to have lunch in Disneyland. All of a sudden Minnie and Mickey walked up beside him and both kissed him on his cheeks. You ought to have seen the smile on his face as he awoke and looked around to see the magic that had just wakened him!
The very special folks at Wendys are undoubtedly to be commended for their continued support and their generosity. I don’t know a lot of people who work for a day and give their wages to a charity. These 9 Wendys restaurants make up a very, very special group of people.
This event now funds a DreamLift every two years to Disneyland. The next DreamLift is planned for December, 2011, and about 80 very special kids will wing their way to the magic kingdom. It will be a day that they won’t forget.
It will be THANKS to all the wonderful people who are “philanthropic” by nature.
Steven Tuck is Past President of the B.C. Interior Chapter of Sunshine Foundation - Dreams for Kids and Publisher of this paper.