UBC Okanagan Heat help dreams come true

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ubc heat

Cary Mellon

What would you be willing to do to help a child with a severe disability or life-threatening illness have at least one day to live, laugh, and just be happy? Well, varsity teams from the UBC’s Okanagan campus were willing to volunteer some of their time to work at three local Wendy’s restaurants during the company’s annual “Wendy’s DreamLift Day.”

“It was really fun,” commented women’s volleyball player Jill Festival. “All the volunteers are here to help out and have a good time, and I get to hang out with my teammates and volunteer.”

The fundraiser raises money each year by contributing sales revenue and staff wages (including managers’ and owners’ shares) to the Sunshine Foundation, which sends children with severe disabilities and illnesses on a single-day trip to Disneyland.

Castanet first reported that the “one day fundraiser at Wendy’s restaurants brought in $114,276.35 for a total of $1,109,356.99.”

“I think it’s a great program,” Jill went on. “Wendy’s raises millions of dollars every year for this DreamLift day, and it’s so busy, so many people come out and help, and I think it’s really great for the kids to have a day out like that and enjoy being a kid.”

This is Jill’s third year volunteering at the event, and each time around she feels that it is just as great. “In my first year I was a Frosty girl—I got to make Frosties for everyone. In my second year I was on drive-thru, which was a little more stressful. This year I’m in the dining room, greeting people, cleaning trays, that sort of thing.”

Over 50 student athletes volunteered at one of three locations in the Kelowna area with athletes working three hour shifts at either the Rutland restaurant, or the location on Highway 97 near Orchard Park Mall, as well as the location on the Westside.

Working with the staff, according to Jill, is a blast. “It’s great coming in here. They’re really positive and really want to help out. They’re really great, and donating a lot of their time and wages. They’re the ones making the real sacrifice.”

Other local ‘celebrities’ were volunteering, including representatives from SUN FM and the Kelowna Rockets, to name a couple. Having familiar names in the community appear at such events makes it a more fun and interesting experience for the public who come to the restaurants. Jill is always thrilled to be around the people saying that she likes “being out here and interacting with people. They’re interested, asking ‘How’s volleyball?’ and whatnot when they see I’m a [UBCO] athlete.”

Link to video featured by UBCO.tv: https://news.ok.ubc.ca/athrec/?p=8002

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