Known for her energy and spirit

Phyllis MacPherson: Her legacy will live on at Lake Country Food Bank

Long-time food bank manager dedicated her life to feeding people; MacPherson passed away peacefully on Saturday

Just days before she was going to be presented with the new Lake Country Food Bank building as a surprise Christmas gift, food bank manager and co-founder Phyllis MacPherson passed away peacefully at Kelowna General Hospital on Saturday night.

MacPherson, 78, was with family when she passed away after a lifetime of service to the community of Lake Country as its long-time food bank manager and the driving spirit behind the food bank’s operations.

“She never called it the food bank, she called it her home,” recalled Joy Haxton, the vice-president of the Lake Country Food Assistance Society. “When you talked to Phyllis and she said ‘I’ll meet you at the house’ she never meant her residence. You knew exactly where to meet her.”

Home for MacPherson was the Lake Country Food Bank, whether in its original location near Lake Country municipal hall or one of its other postings up to its current location in the old Winfield Elementary School. She started the venture with a handful of others and for more than 30 years dedicated herself to helping those that needed food, helping up to 600 families in a month.

She was honoured many times over, from high level national awards to local recognition, including the Lake Country Chamber’s community service award, which she won this October.

“She’s probably one of the most decorated women in Canada,” said Haxton of the many awards and honours bestowed upon MacPherson. “It was a long list but for Phyllis it was about her people, the people she helped. She had incredible faith. She always said it was God’s will for her to feed people. That was her job.”

The news MacPherson’s passing sent a wave of sadness through Lake Country as word spread this week.

As the Rotary Club made plans to present the nearly-completed food bank building to the society on Dec. 23, news of MacPherson’s passing prompted them to delay any presentation until the new year.

“We are all shocked by the loss of Phyllis – it is a huge blow to all of us,” said Bob Rymarchuk of Rotary. “We had been expecting her to wind down her involvement with the food bank day-to-day operations due to her health but her passing comes as a shock to us all.”

At the Lake Country Food Bank on Monday morning volunteers went about their business with a heavy heart.

But the food bank operations were continuing as per normal.

“Everybody is in mourning but everyone is looking at it like this is what Phyllis wanted us to do,” said society board member Jim Haxton. “There is a core group of volunteers and she prepared them all to be able to run it themselves. Everyone is trained to continue the wonderful work Phyllis did. We know what to do and we’re going to continue the work for Phyllis. I think a little bit of her will be with all of us, to carry on the work. Her belief was that no one should go hungry.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teen snowmobiler missing near Kelowna

Police were informed that the teen had gone missing just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Kelowna Rockets blow 4-goal lead in overtime loss to Calgary

Captain Nolan Foote made a brief return as Kelowna drops Family Day matinee 6-5

Lake Country singer advances to Top 25 in Okanagan’s Got Talent

Payton Bischoff will be performing on Feb. 23 in Vernon

Soccer legend Bob Lenarduzzi to speak about dementia in Kelowna

Lenarduzzi will speak at the inaugural Breakfast to Remember on Mar. 10

Kelowna RCMP arrest alleged impaired driver

The driver is facing potential charges after power pole collision

Kelowna’s Family YMCA opens doors on Family Day

The entire day was free for the community

Morning Start: Canadian Rocky Mountain healing waters

Your morning start for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

No dramatic shifts expected as B.C. government tables new budget today

Finance Minister Carole James has promised to stay the course when she tables the budget in the legislature

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

Federal, B.C. ministers seek meeting with Wet’suwet’en in hope of blockade solution

Coastal GasLink signed agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route

Flight to evacuate Canadians from cruise ship ‘expected’ to depart Japan on Thursday

Canadians seeking to return to home by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

South Okanagan woman reflects on prestigious win at Westminster dog show

“Polly” the Scottish deerhound was crowned best in breed and reserve best hound.

Most Read