Bob Rymarchuk and Phyllis MacPherson

Lake Country’s efforts for new food bank building to be aided by UBCO/Okanagan College

Still plenty of funds needed to be raised before the building becomes a reality

Residents in Lake Country have taken the maxim, “It takes a village to raise a child” one step further, pursuing the idea that it takes a community to construct a new building for its food bank.

The Lake Country Food Assistance Society currently has leased space in the former Winfield elementary school – a building that is almost 100 years old. The community has long been looking at several ideas for a suitable facility and, and as space does exist in the community, a committee has come up with a plan to construct a new building.

But creating a new facility for a non-profit whose only goal is to help those less fortunate is not easy — the food bank could not achieve its goal alone. The initial idea snowballed to involve many partners including School of Engineering students at UBC’s Okanagan campus and trades students enrolled at Okanagan College.

Bob Rymarchuk, project director for the Rotary Club of Lake Country, is the committee chair for the food bank project. He’s excited that UBC, Okanagan College, Rotarians, the municipality, and many other partners are working together to complete this project.

“It’s in a very old building, they have cramped quarters and quite often the clients have to wait outside because the space is so tight,” said Rymarchuk. “It’s not a good situation at all, especially when most of the volunteers and many of the clients are senior citizens.”

Rehan Sadiq, professor and acting director of UBC’s School of Engineering, says this type of project is the perfect opportunity to showcase the talents of UBC’s students while helping an organization and filling a community need.

“This is a good example of community outreach, as we often ask: How can we help our communities who continually support us?” said Sadiq. “It will give our students a real-life hands-on learning experience while at the same time benefiting the Lake Country community.”

Indeed, on a cold day in December, more than a dozen people wait outside while volunteers inside dodge around each other as they pack boxes for Christmas hampers. Shelves are stacked high with non-perishable items and boxes of donated food. There isn’t a spare inch of space.

Rymarchuk says the Food Assistance Society cannot apply for a mortgage, because it is a non-profit and spends the entire year raising funds just to fill the shelves. And that’s why the community, sensing the need, has stepped up to help get this project off the drawing board and into reality.

The proposal for a new building for the food bank was approved in principle by the District of Lake Country last summer. In return, the District of Lake Country has made an in-kind gift of a $250,000 land parcel beside the Lake Country Seniors Centre, near the curling rink and hockey arena.

If built on the site, the municipality will waive lease fees for the land and eliminate municipal charges while construction takes place. A combination of warehouse and storage space, the new building will be much bigger than the current facility and include room for administration, a prep area for sorting and repacking, and a display/reception area.

The Lake Country Food Assistance Society has applied for multiple grants, and it has received many donations and commitments for goods and services to get the project to the next stage, but Rymarchuk says more is needed for the $200,000 cost of construction.

While much of the plan is still on the drawing board, a feasibility study has been approved. It’s now a case of raising funds and awareness for the project. In the meantime, the Lake Country food bank continues to help those in need in its community servicing close to 600 people each month.

Just Posted

Okanagan residents can win ride in army vehicle

A social media campaign offers the chance to win a ride in the Dragoons armoured vehicle

Reel Reviews: War from both sides of the desk

We say, “Forgive these films their faults and they will be entertaining enough.”

Residents should keep air intakes clear of snow

Silver Star Fire Department is encouraging residens to keep their air intakes clear after snowfall

Habs alumni raise big money for Kelowna hospice

Central Okanagan Hospice Association was the big winner after alumni hockey game

Provincial program offers assistance to agricultural producers

AgriStability Enhancement Program benefits agricultural producers who saw an income decline in 2017

PHOTOS: Icing the competition

Skate Canada 2018 Okanagan Regional Championships skated through Vernon this weekend

Calgary man dies in Mexico following sudden illness

Troy Black was with his wife, Lindsay, in Puerto Vallarta when he began vomiting blood on Thursday

Virtue and Moir break their own world record

Virtue and Moir break short dance record to sit first in ice dance at Olympics

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

New doping charge could hurt Russia’s chance at reinstatement

Russia could lose its chance to be reinstated before the end of the Winter Olympics because of a doping charge against curling bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky.

Okanagan Hockey Academy alum nets first Olympic goal in semifinal win

Canada will face the U.S. inwomen’s hockey gold medal final of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics

‘Black Panther’ blows away box office with $192M weekend

In estimates Sunday, Disney predicted a four-day holiday weekend of $218 million domestically and a global debut of $361 million.

Coquihalla lane closed due to crash

A crash has snarled traffic on the Coquihalla

Canada wins gold in bobsleigh

Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz tied for first in two-man event at 2018 Winter Olympics

Most Read