Community Development

Funding level: Up to $50,000

Description

If we build it they will come...a famous quote from the Field of Dreams movie, but aptly applies to the Lake Country Food Bank, since moving into our new facility in 2016.

First, we would like to acknowledge the tremendous financial contribution from the Aviva Community Fund, which went towards construction of our facility. Our community and organization thank you so very much!

Our new Food Bank building has facilitated many exciting opportunities within Lake Country, but more importantly, across the Okanagan Valley. Here's the list of synergies we have capitalized on since opening our doors:

- We have increased our volunteer base from 10 to 60 people.

- Food donors have increased in terms of type of food items we can accept. In 2015, we received 4,000 pounds of fresh produce donations at our previous facility. In 2016, donations of fruits and vegetables increased five-fold to 20,000 pounds! In 2017, we are on track to surpass the previous year's numbers. Meat donations have also increased due to increased freezer capacity.

- Partnerships have increased because of our increased cooler space. We have benefited from our local Community Garden, which supplies a huge assortment of produce that is shared with other food banks and community groups. We have increased the number of local farmers and orchardists who see us as an important donation point to share produce that would not meet size and appearance requirements of retail stores. This bounty is shared with our very appreciative partners!

- Development of a food sharing network called "Helping Through Sharing" which includes eight small food banks and numerous non-profit organizations. These are start up numbers which we know will continue to grow as the network matures. Membership currently includes: numerous breakfast and lunch programs at schools, three seniors’ serving organizations, seven churches and two service clubs, who serve approximately 2,000 people per month.

- Assisted families affected by flooding in May/|June 2017 and the wildfires in the summer. These activities on top of serving clients within our own community.

Now we have another dream: to be the hub of a food recovery network within the Okanagan Valley.

Our Food Bank is located in the heart of orchard country, in British Columbia's interior, rich with fruits and vegetables that are shipped throughout the country and the world. These orchards, grocery stores and food service organizations regularly throw food out that could be redirected to people who are hungry.

We know that food is thrown away that could be salvaged and shared with our clients and partners. We have an undeveloped lower level that would be perfect for this next phase.

Preliminary discussions have taken place with these various groups to determine the viability of the project and most have been positive to contributing to the food recovery program. We have received dollars for increased refrigeration from Food Banks Canada. We have also received grants from our local community foundations for a refrigerated three-ton van to move food up and down the valley.

What we need is dollars to finish the undeveloped lower level to accommodate the equipment and work space required for the recovery program. We feel this is the missing link to increasing our food supply for those in need. Once the space is developed, we know that sustainability will be easy to continue as there are service clubs, community and provincial grants we would tap into to continue the program.

To wrap up, Lake Country Food Bank wants to be the change agent for food recovery in the Okanagan Valley. We are ready and willing with Aviva's financial contribution to tap a food supply that can feed the hungry, benefit the environment and become part of a sustainable food system.

Broker supported
CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd.
WESTERN FINANCIAL GROUP (NETWORK)

Lake Country Food Assistance Society

Location: Lake Country