Anonymous donor pays off Central Okanagan Food Bank’s mortgage

The $190,000 donation means the mortgage on the Westbank building has been paid off three years early.

Central Okanagan Food Bank officials (left to right) Kevin Smith

The Central Okanagan Food Bank has paid off the mortgage on the building it uses for its West Kelowna operations three years early—thanks to an anonymous donor.

The donor, who gave the COFB $190,000 earlier this year on condition it be used to pay off the mortgage on the Churchill Road building in Westbank, wanted the food bank to use what it pays in monthly mortgage payments to go towards providing more food for those in need.

“And that’s what we’ll do,” said executive director Lenetta Parry.

She said the $1,800 per month the food bank will now not have to pay the bank each month will be used to buy nutritious food for distribution, food such as milk, eggs and other perishables that are not regularly donated to the food bank.

“With Thanksgiving around the corner, we thought this would be the perfect time to bring all out supporters together to share in the good news and celebration, said Helen Holton, vice-president of the Central Okanagan Food Bank and the former president of the, then separate, Westside Food Bank.

The Westside and Kelowna Community Food Banks amalgamated last year to form the Central Okanagan Food Bank.

Holton said the plan when the property was purchased was to have the mortgage paid off in 10 years.

Thanks to the  anonymous donation, which covered the remainder left on the mortgage as of the end of June, that time frame was cut by nearly one-third.

The Churchill Road property was bought by the Westside Food Bank in 2009, with the help of a $50,000 donation for the downpayment from local lumber company, Gorman Bros. which operates a mill in West Kelowna. A campaign was then launched to to find 12 companies or organizations willing to pay one mortgage payment per year for 10 years.

The One for Ten campaign was a success and to mark the early payout of the mortgage, one of the groups that signed up for the campaign, Okanagan Business Excellence, presented food bank officials with an $1,800 cheque Wednesday, symbolic of what would have been this month’s mortgage payment.

To mark the moment, food bank officials gathered outside the Westbank building Wednesday to ceremoniously burned the building’s mortgage papers.