As donations for the Lake Country Food Bank continue to roll in with businesses and individuals supporting the non profit organization with food and cash, the campaign to raise enough money to construct a new building for the food bank is looking forward to an important year in its efforts.
The Rotary Club of Lake Country is hoping to raise enough money this year to at the least, start construction of a new food bank building in the spring of 2014. But the group will still have to raise over $300,000 to make that happen.
“Our estimation is that we need probably in the range of $350,000 to $400,000 in cash to start construction and be able to complete the building,” said Rotary club director Bob Rymarchuk. “Right now we are at about $40,000 that we have in the bank so we have a ways to go.”
Several different fundraising campaigns are underway in Lake Country as the community, small businesses and larger corporations are all being asked to find extra funds to help raise enough money to move the food bank out of its current location in the old Winfield school. It’s a 100 year-old building that isn’t well suited to the growing operations of the food bank, which helps close to 600 folks each month.
“They are really in a totally unsuitable space to being with,” said Rymarchuk. “It’s not suited for what they are doing at the food bank. It’s hard to believe they can make do with what they have. Unfortunately in our community there aren’t lot of options. We don’t have a stockpile of our buildings that you might typically find in a larger city. There just isn’t anything out there.”
The Rotary club started its campaign to find a new home for the food bank about four years ago, looking for a new building. When a suitable location couldn’t be found, the District of Lake Country stepped forward and donated land next to the senior’s centre in Lake Country, a parcel big enough to build a 2,500 square foot building.
Rymarchuk says once enough money is raised, the group has secured enough contractors that will donate their time and efforts to the cause, to help construct the building. But he added the money still needs to come in to purchase supplies and other materials for the build.
“Some people are a little appalled by the cost,” admitted Rymarchuk. “But these days it’s very, very expensive to build. You can’t build a new house for under $200 per square foot and we’ve had our valuation confirmed. We’re confident we can do this for around $400,000.”
Lake Country mayor James Baker said the community has stepped forward to support the food bank in many ways and added that the group really needs to find a new home.
“I think the support has been great,” said Baker. “Certainly they have minimal space right now. We have a great number of volunteers in Lake Country and they are doing a great job supporting this movement.”
There are several ways people can donate to the food bank construction campaign. Folks are being asked to donate their loose change and can drop it off at Interior Savings as well larger donations are being sought with a tax receipt available for anything over $100. There is a group within the Rotary club working on larger cash donations from corporations and another group working on grants from different funding bodies like the Central Okanagan Foundation, which already donated $12,000.
Rymarchuk says this year is an important year to try to meet their fundraising goals.
“Given enough time I think we can make anything happen,” he said. “But we’d really like to see it happen sooner rather than later. At some point in the game, if it drags on too long, there is going to have to be a decision on which way to proceed.”