Generosity pays off Upper Room Mission debt

Prayers have been answered at Vernon’s Upper Room Mission.

The remaining bills for the $165,000 kitchen renovation have been paid off after two anonymous donations came in for $85,000.

“There was complete shock and then tears,” said Lisa Froom, general manager, of her reaction when  one of the donors — a couple — presented $80,000.

“I just kept thanking them. They felt they had the resources and they wanted to help others. It’s very humbling.”

The donation wasn’t a spontaneous decision.

“They did their homework and spoke to myself and our board chairperson. They appreciate what we’re doing in the community,” said Froom.

The new kitchen, which has doubled in size, has separate areas dedicated to cooking, meal preparation and dishwashing.

Previously, duct tape held cabinets together, the floor was rotting, counters were too low and residential appliances gave out under the demand of upwards of 250 meals a day.

Raising the necessary funds for the kitchen has been such a struggle, that the completion of the campaign is an emotional experience for everyone involved, including employees at the mission’s bank.

“When I deposited the cheque, the teller teared up. It touches the wider community,” said Froom.

While the $80,000 and $5,000 donations have closed the gap for the kitchen project, there continues to be other needs at the mission.

Specifically, authorities have insisted a sprinkler system be installed in the building. The price tag is about $100,000.

“We’re looking for capital grants,” said Froom, adding fundraising will also be done through the collection of pennies and refundable beverage containers.

A community open house will be held at the Upper Room Mission June 23 from 1 to 3 p.m.

“They can get a look at the different things we do for the community,” said Froom.

“Some people have a limited idea of what we do here.”

To donate to the sprinkler system, visit the Upper Room Mission at 3403 27th Ave. or call 250-549-1231.


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