When Fabio Santana’s mother lost her battle with lung cancer three years ago, the local business owner vowed to honour her memory by giving back to the community.
The Lodge provides free accommodation for cancer patients and their families, who have traveled to Kelowna for treatment. Fabio was moved by the kindness and generosity or the organization, but saddened by the lack of reliable transportation for the lodge’s guests.
So he quietly started the “Let’s Go Together” campaign, putting $1 from every transaction at his business towards providing a free shuttle to and from the airport for lodge guests.
But recently he realized he wanted to do more, so he created the Maple Pass.
Maple Pass is a value card similar to the coupon books of old. Local businesses offer up exclusive discounts and deals on their services, and anyone who buys a pass gets access to them.
Each business pays $100 to take part in the project, and cards sell for $25. Profits from the project will be beef up the “Let’s Go Together” initiative, as well as help out a selection of other community groups supporting cancer patients.
“It’s just a way for me to give back to the community,” Fabio says.
The passes haven’t gone on sale yet, but Fabio says interest in the project has already far surpassed his initial expectations.
A host of local ski hills, wineries and other businesses have already jumped on board, and Fabio says pre-orders of the Maple Pass cards are already into the thousands.
“I’m very excited, because we’re starting to get a lot of support in the community,” he says. That support will translate into very tangible good for the organizations Maple Pass supports, like the Southern Interior Rotary Lodge.
Fabio says he’s thrilled to be able to support an organization he sees doing incredible work in the community, and believes his mom would agree.
“Even before this whole thing my mother was such a special person for me,” he says. “She was the one who taught me actually how to help people—to always give back. She was such a special person.”
He explains how Fatima was always giving to under-privileged people and children, and how she was a Godmother to more than 50 children in her community.
He believes the Maple Pass can continue Fatima’s tradition of making the local community a better place, thanks in large part to all the organizations that have chipped in to make it a success.
Every little discount or deal local businesses offer up, every organization that chips in to sell the cards or support the project, all that adds up to big change.
“A little bit from here, and a little bit from there, and it can make a big difference altogether,” he says.
Maple Passes will go on sale in September. They will be good for a year, and valid at a host of businesses across the Okanagan, and beyond.
For more information, as well as a list of the deals currently available, check out the passes online.
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