Okanagan fundraiser bids farewell after 20 years
It is one of the Okanagan’s longest running fundraisers, but Thursday’s ‘Maxine DeHart’s United Way Ramada Hotel Breakfast Drive-Thru’ will be the very last.
“It’s going to be emotional,” a teary-eyed Maxine DeHart told Global News.
DeHart started the Breakfast Drive-Thru in 1998 when she was the chair of United Way Central and South Okanagan Similkameen.
“The Sutton Hotel had been doing this in Vancouver for two years and they only lasted for two years,” Dehart said. “I was excited. I knew this would work in Kelowna; it was something new, it was something fresh.”
And she was right. The fundraiser, now in its 20th year, has been very successful, having raised a total of more than $750,000.
“I am proud, I am really proud,” she said.
Money raised goes to the United Way, which then disperses it among some 50 not-for-profit organizations across the Okanagan.
But after two decades, DeHart decided this year’s event will be the last.
“We just decided to go out on a high note on 20,” she said. “There’s a best before date for everything.”
DeHart expressed deep gratitude to her longtime sponsors that have supported the cause as well as the entire community for coming out in droves year after year.
“It’s been a great run, it’s been a great 20-year run and it’s because of the sponsors and the citizens of Kelowna,” DeHart said.
WATCH BELOW: An extended interview with Breakfast Drive-Thru founder Maxine DeHart as she reflects back on the long-running event and the gratitude she feels for all of the supporters.
United Way executive director Helen Jackman said she’s grateful to DeHart and the difference she has made in the community.
“We could not do our work without people like Max. She is amazing. ” Jackman said. “Will be a hole to fill. You know Max has some big shoes to fill.”
And while she would not reveal much, Jackman said plans are in the works to help fill the void the Breakfast Drive-Thru will leave behind.
“We got some exciting plans for next year,” she told Global News. “I think more will be revealed after this event.”
The Maxine DeHart United Way Breakfast Drive-Thru takes place Thursday morning from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m., in the parking lot of the Ramada Hotel. Access is from Enterprise Way.
If you can’t make it but would like to make a donation, click here to do so online.
An anonymous donor has come forward saying they will match the online donations up to $20,000.
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