Food banks across the country are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as donations decrease and usage increases.
However, Lake Country Food Bank manager Joy Haxton said they’ve received immense support from the community, including a generous $24,600 donation from the Lake Country Rotary Club.
Haxton said the cheque represents the funds the Rotary Club raised for them since August 2018.
“Our Rotary-sponsored us with Save-On-Foods gift cards,” she said.
“Every time a Save-On gift card that was part of the Rotary package got sold, we would get eight per cent. On top of that, we had an anonymous donor that matched that, so we were getting 16 per cent for a period of time.”
She also said that with the funds they received, the food bank will be able to buy more to meet the community’s demand.
“With these funds, we’ll be able to buy pallets of food. Our retail partners have given us amazing support in allowing us to buy in bulk,” she said.
The gift cards are sold in denominations of $50, $100, $200, and $400. The club’s secretary Sandy Wightman said this in turn effectively gave cash to the food bank.
“For example, every time we sold a $100 card, we’d make eight dollars. Then with our donor that matched that, we actually had $16 that went to the food bank,” he said.
Since the food bank buys items in bulk, Wightman said they could turn $16 into $40 worth of groceries.
“And the people who buy the cards from us, it doesn’t really cost them anything per se. Because that $100 card they get, they can spend that on $100 worth of groceries or wine or items at the pharmacy. Or you can buy other gift cards. It’s just like cash.”
He added that it took the club about a year to raise the $24,600.
“Like most programs, it takes time to build some momentum. But I expect the momentum will keep going as the program continues,” he said.
Wightman added they are thankful for their partnership with Save-On-Foods, as it helps stock up the Lake Country Food Bank, which he said has become a distribution hub for those who need it from Cherryville to Peachland.
“The funds may go to the Lake Country Food Bank, but they help distribute food up and down the valley and it supports so many people. We want people and other clubs to take advantage of this program and help many more.”
If you wish to support the Lake Country Food Bank through the Rotary’s gift card program, visit the club’s website for more information and to buy the cards.