Posted by Jim Taylor on Oct 23, 2018
On October 26, the Lake Country Food Bank received a $11,700 gift from Rotary, and food banks from Revelstoke to Peachland will benefit.   The gift is a pallet stacker - an electrically powered forklift capable of moving and handling loads of up to one metric tonne each. It was paid for by the Rotary Club of Lake Country with support from 11 other Rotary clubs and the international Rotary Foundation.
The new machine is needed because of two things: the growing role of the Lake Country Food Bank as a distribution centre, and the growing movement to avoid wasting food – any food.
When the Food Bank took possession of its new permanent home (a $1 million project also funded with Rotary leadership) in January 2016, it received about 5,000 pounds of perishable food donations a year.   In 2016 the donations rose to 20,000 pounds; in 2017, to 43,000 pounds. This year, donations already exceed 90,000 pounds.   Those donations are distributed up and down the Okanagan Valley, and beyond it to Salmon Arm and occasionally even Revelstoke. 
Lake Country’s new building originally had an unfinished and unoccupied lower floor. By completing its construction and installing refrigeration equipment, the Lake Country Food Bank was able to become a Food Recovery Centre for a network of other food banks.   The member food banks of this Helping Through Sharing network -- Peachland, Vernon, Kelowna, Lake Country, Lumby, Cherryville, Revelstoke and Salmon Arm – all now have refrigeration vehicles, thanks to a grant from Food Banks B.C. 
The Food Recovery Centre in the Lake Country Food Bank will be independently accessible to them, any time, any day of the week. They can pick up supplies; they can drop off supplies to be passed on to other food banks. 
By way of example, last year the Vernon Food Bank got a donation of too many eggs for them to deal with. Vernon sent the extra eggs to Lake Country; Lake Country made them available to all other food banks in their network.   Until now, this work of sorting and stacking has had to be done manually.
The local Food Bank now has about 80 regular volunteers, not counting the days when school classes come in to help. But as manager Joy Haxton comments, “Most of our volunteers are retirees; they’re the ones who have time to help out.”  For really heavy lifting, Haxton says, “The hockey team has come over from the arena across the parking lot!”  The new pallet stacker will make it possible for the Lake Country Food Bank’s regular volunteers to handle tonnes of deliveries without risk or injury.
The volume of donations has soared largely because Save-On Foods has committed to zero waste. Any perishable foods that can’t be sold immediately are given to the Food Bank. Nothing gets thrown out.  Usable produce goes immediately to local patrons of the Food Bank or gets shipped out to other food banks.
There’s nothing wrong with the fruit and vegetables – they’ve simply grown riper than what customers typically prefer to buy in the store.   Any unusable produce goes to farmers feeding livestock. “Very little goes into compost,”Haxton says. 
Local farmers are very much part of the process. The community farm provides fresh produce in season, delivered directly to the Food Bank for distribution.   Save-On Foods is also supporting the Food Bank by offering Save-On Gift cards. For every dollar spent using these pre-paid grocery cards, 16 cents goes to the Lake Country Food Bank – eight percent as a discount from Save-On itself, another eight percent as a matching donation from an anonymous donor.
 At no additional charge to the customer! 
Save-On gift cards are available from any Rotary member, or from four retail locations in Lake Country: UBR Services on Bottom Wood Lake Road; Interior Savings Credit Union; Ace Hardware on Woodsdale Road; and Winfield IDA Pharmacy in the Turtle Bay Crossing mall.
Other News
Christmas Party:  At least one observant person caught the error regarding the date for our Christmas party, in the last E-bulletin.  The correct date is Sunday, December 16, and the event will be held at our normal meeting room, at Holiday Park.  More details to follow in the next few weeks.
Remembrance Day:  The official Remembrance Day ceremony in Lake Country will take place at 10:30 a.m., at George Elliot High School.  We are hoping for a good turn-out of Rotarians for this event.  Margaret Brown will be presenting a Remembrance Day wreath, on behalf of our Rotary Club.
Speaker’s Schedule:  A new speaker’s schedule is now posted at  Kathy Butler and Holly Routley will be at our next regular breakfast meeting on November 1 to talk to us about health care training programs at Okanagan College.
Where’s Dave!?   President Dave will be leaving for Phoenix on Tuesday, October 30 but will returning for our Club AGM and Christmas Party.   Monika will be leading our breakfast meetings during his absence and President Elect, Ken Guido, will be representing our Club at monthly Area 5/6 President’s meetings.  Thank you for your leadership!  Dave will continue to participate in Club activities by email, phone and Facetime while he is away.