Maribeth Friesen of the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. accepts a cheque for $10,627 from Kelowna T-Bones employee Shay Larsen, as Sam Johnston and Brian and Tanner Ulveland (left to right in middle) look on. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Okanagan company helps ‘meat’ the need for Alzheimer’s support

T-Bones donates $10,627 to Alzheimer’s Society of B.C. from latest fundraising effort

For Brian Ulveland the issue of Alzheimer’s Disease hits home—directly.

The co-owner of T-Bones, a chain of meat stores in the Okanagan, Ulveland said after his father was diagnosed with the disease he wanted to get some help for his mom but found it difficult.

So he decided to do something about that.

With the support of his partners, T-Bones staff and its customers, the five stores in Kelowna,West Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon launched a fundraising effort to help the Alzheimer’s Society of British Columbia’s Okanagan chapter and raised $7,000.

That was three years ago. And T-Bones didn’t stop there.

Since then the company has held fundraisers each Christmas and a prawn skewer sale “blitz” during the summer and has raised thousands more. The latest fundraising effort, this past Christmas, collected more than $10,600 in just two weeks.

“It’s really a credit to our staff and our customers,” said Ulveland, who said he wanted the money raised here to stay in the Okanagan and help people here.

In addition to the donations received from customers, the company also contributes to each drive and that helps bump up the total even more.

“It really is a collaborative effort,” said Sam Johnston, another one of the T-Bones partners.

According to Maribeth Friesen, manager of regional services in the Okanagan for the Alzheimer’s Society of British Columbia, the local support is very helpful as her organization does not receive much in the way of government funding.

“We rely on significant public support and (T-Bones fundraising effort) makes a huge difference for us,” she said Friday after accepting a cheque for $10,627 from Ulveland, Johnston and two T-Bones employees on behalf of the company, at the Spall Road store in Kelowna.

Friesen said the example set by T-Bones is a wonderful one for other businesses to follow.

The money raised by the meat store chain will stay in the Okanagan and go towards a wide variety of endeavours by the Alzheimer’s society, including public education and support, said Friesen.

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