The Lake Country Food Bank is trying to store more food items in order to become a hub for smaller food banks in the Okanagan Valley.
And they’re using a familiar strategy to try to raise the money to get there.
The food bank has applied for a $50,000 grant from the Aviva Canada Fund, an online contest where voters cast their ballots for their favourite projects, to help renovate the organization’s basement.
It’s the same contest the organization participated in a few years ago, when it received enough community support and votes to win a $100,000 grant which went towards the construction of the new building next to the Winfield Senior’s Centre.
The funds will go towards renovating the basement, updating equipment, and keeping up with the new building code costs to be able to handle the increase in food supply.
“We’re going to be using the lower level for food recovery,” said manager Joy Haxton. “Food recovery is the food that gets thrown away and the amount that we have of that is volumeless. We need a lot more space. What we found is that working with the smaller food banks, is that they have less storage space.”
The renovated basement will hold more storage space for perishable food items and will allow the food bank to distribute goods to smaller food banks in the Okanagan Valley, the university and to School District 23.
“The donations that we’ve been receiving have been so amazing, but they’ve been more than we can handle. For example when you get 1,000 pounds of peaches in a day, we can’t distribute that out to our clients,” said Haxton.
Thus far, the food bank has already raised half of the funds needed for the renovation, with grants and through donations, said Haxton.
Food Banks Canada has already donated funds for construction and Food Banks BC has donated the cooling equipment, but $280,000 is the minimum total needed to compete the basement.
Voting starts Tuesday, Oct. 10 for the Aviva funds at www.avivacommunityfund.org and continues until Oct. 19. The winners will be announced in December.