Kim Dobranski is not afraid to admit his decision to support the food bank is personal.
The owner of the West Kelowna Warriors and his team are leading the charge at this year's Westside Daze parade, and for the Central Okanagan Food Bank.
For the first time in team history, Warriors players will be out front at the popular parade on Saturday in West Kelowna collecting donations.
“The food bank is an organization that is close to my heart,” Dobranski said in an email to The Daily Courier. “As a teenager growing up in Regina during the ’80s, I had to use the service of the food bank on many occasions as I tried to navigate the challenges of living on my own at a young age and keep my bills paid on a very small income.”
The parade is to begin at 10:30 a.m. from the corner of Butt Road and Old Okanagan Highway. It turns west along Drought Road, and then follows Brown Road until ending back at Butt Road.
There is free public parking for Westside Daze near Johnson-Bentley Memorial Park and the event's main stage. In conjunction with the Central Okanagan Food Bank, the Warriors will also be handing out two free game tickets to anyone who donates food along the parade route, Dobranski said. The food bank truck will be following immediately behind the Warriors accepting donations.
“We will have local kids and parents, as well as our popular hometown player, Jake Harrison, collecting donations along the route,” Dobranski said.
“I encourage everyone to pick up non-perishable food items and take this opportunity to support an important community organization.”
The food bank helps hundreds in Kelowna each week, with an estimated one in three of those people under the age of 15.
“Many people who use the food bank probably are not who you would expect,” Dobrankski said.
“It is a support organization to help individuals and families who sometimes can fall short of their obligations. It takes a lot of courage to use the food bank as most hard working people carry a lot of personal pride. Let’s remove the stigma of the food bank and support those in the community who need a little help. You never know, they may one day own a hockey club and use it as a vehicle to give back.”