Food bank seeks district funding guarantee

Lake Country Food Bank asks Lake Country council to guarantee funding up to $250,000 to for construction

The Lake Country Food Bank is asking the District of Lake Country to guarantee funding up to $250,000 to ensure construction of a new food bank building can be completed this year.

Representatives from the food bank building project laid out their future plans for a new building to district council members recently.

The move to construct a new building for the food bank is slowly moving closer to construction due to several fundraising initiatives, although it is still running short of the goal for the project, which is expected to cost $1,058,421 to complete. Fundraising efforts to date have totaled $661,400 including land donated by the district valued at $262,000, community fundraising of $121,000 and $278,000 committed donations of goods and services.

However that still has the project coming up short by just less than $400,000 and is forcing organizers to look for more avenues of funding.

Currently the food bank is in the finals of an online contest that could see it win $100,000 when the winners are announced later this month. However, the project will need to secure more funds in order to start construction this spring.

“As you can appreciate, it is extremely difficult for volunteer organizations to make the future financial commitments that will be required to complete this project,” wrote Bob Rymarchuk, the food bank building project director.

“We are confident that donations will continue and may exceed our target as soon as shovels are in the ground and it is clear that the project will go ahead.”

Complicating fundraising matters for the project is a conflict with the District of Lake Country and its attempt to go after grant money.

Rymarchuk said the food bank project had planned to apply for a $250,000 grant under the federal Small Communities Fund. However, each community can only submit one application under the program. District staff are already planning to submit an application for a sewer upgrade under the program.

With that money seemingly unavailable, the food bank project decided to ask council to guarantee the $250,000 loan to get the project going this year.

The food bank serves about 600 residents per month operating out of a small room in the old Winfield Elementary school, which is now up for sale.

“The recent move by the Central Okanagan School District to list the former Winfield School property for sale has increased the urgency for providing a facility in the near future,” wrote Rymarchuk.