Kamloops' generosity was on full display on Nov. 13 during a drive-thru dinner at Colombo Lodge.
The event, hosted by the ICCHA/Wish Fund, raised $36,630. In three hours, volunteers served 380 dinners for two (plus a bottle of wine), at $99 apiece. All foodies had to do was drive up and pick up their meal, which consisted of chicken and pasta. Veggie and vegan options were also on offer.
"I was so surprised. I just couldn't fathom that we could do that many dinners," Al Patel, founder of the wish fund, tells Castanet.
The drive-thru dinner replaced the non-profit's annual gala; like other large gatherings this year, the gala had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Patel started the wish fund in 2007, in support of the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation. It seeks to raise money for urgently needed equipment and services at RIH.
The cash made from the drive-thru dinner will go toward Patel's goal of raising $300,000 in 2020-21 for a 3D echocardiogram machine. The equipment will allow cardiologists to make accurate diagnoses at the bedside of critically ill patients, notes a news release from ICCHA.
"It will allow them to save time and promptly institute life-saving therapies in patients with mechanical complications following heart attacks," the statement reads.
Patel adds this year's fundraiser wouldn't have been possible without the community's support, including The Grocery People and Nu Leaf Produce Market (both donated food and supplies), and the U District Liquor Store in Sahali (owner Ramesh Patel donated 400 bottles of wine).
"We want to thank the community, the sponsors, the donors and people who came out regardless of COVID and participated in a very friendly manner. Nobody complained. They were all happy," Patel says. "That’s where we say the power is with the people and they have come together in a big way."