Christmas may come in January for Food Bank

The Lake Country Food won’t know if they got a Christmas present until January 27. That’s the date when the Aviva Fund will announce the winners for its $100,000 grand prize.
                They are already a winner, in a smaller sense. As a finalist, the Food Bank is guaranteed to win $5,000 towards funding for its building project.
                The finalists were announced last week, after voting for the semi-final round ended December 10.
                The decision now rests with a panel of judges, assembled by the Aviva Insurance Corporation, to decide on the merits of the finalists’ proposals.
                “I think we stand a very good chance,” said Bob Rymarchuk, who has been heading the fund-raising drive through the Rotary Club of Lake Country. “We are far further ahead in our planning and development than most other projects. We have a business plan. We’ve already raised more than half of what we need, in direct donations or in commitments of materials and services.”
                In the meantime, the Food Bank Building Fund continues to solicit direct donations. Donations of over $25 can receive receipts for income tax deductions for the current tax year.
                At their annual Christmas concert Friday December 12, at the Creekside Theatre, the Lake Country Big Band raised $1576.35 in additional donations.
                The Lake Country Food Bank normally provides essential supplies to between 600 and 800 families every month, out of two small rooms in the basement of a former elementary school. During the Christmas season that figure rises to 1000 families.
                The urgency for a new permanent home for the Food Bank increased when the School District put the school and property up for sale.
                Construction for a new building could start as early as March, 2015, if there’s enough cash in the building fund to start signing construction contracts.

Christmas party success

                Everyone enjoyed the Christmas pot-luck dinner and party held at our Holiday Park meeting room December 6. Former member Jim Crockett (and his wife Joanne) came back to assist Brenda Dewonck in playing Christmas carols for us to sing.
                Somebody won the game that Judy Hodson distributed, but I don’t think anyone cares.

Looking back

                On the December 4 meeting, Gord Lugrin brought us up to date on the Rotary Fund. Like all else about Rotary, it started small, when a friend of Paul Harris opened an account for international service in 1917. It is now the largest non-governmental aid fund in the world.
                Gord gave some examples of the way that working through the Rotary Foundation can multiply a club’s efforts. Rotary Clubs in the Lower Mainland of BC started the polio project in 1985, raising $12,500 for a pilot project in the Philippines. That got leveraged up to $350,000, and now, 30 years later, is now over $2 billion worldwide.
                Gord talked up the value of making donations before the end of the year. Those of us who buy pre-paid meal tickets, with a $3 donation from each meal ticked off, will be putting about $150 a year towards the Rotary Foundation (if we have perfect attendance, that is!).
                The Rotary Foundation does not siphon off anything from personal donations to cover salaries, overhead, etc., Gord emphasized. All the money, from every donation, is invested for three years. The income from that investment covers all expenses.
                And at the December 11 meeting, three representatives from CrimeStoppers talked about their work. Weldon LeBlanc brought along CrimeStoppers’ president Dino Cabaltin, and vice-president Gerry Guiltenane.
                Weldon called 2005 the year that Kelowna “came to terms with the crime in our city.” That was the year of the assassination at the Delta Grand Hotel. As a result, the local RCMP chief Bob McKinnon persuaded his hierarchy to base 18 members of the Organized Crime Task Force here in the Okanagan.
                Kelowna is apparently a high-crime location because it’s a transfer point – a “filter” Weldon called it – for moving the proceeds of crime into and out of the country, and from the Lower Mainland gangs to Alberta and the rest of western Canada.
                Thanks to the work of the Task Force, and the publicity given through Global Okanagan since the program started in 1987, there have been 22,000 tips, $84 million worth of narcotics recovered, and $178,000 paid out in rewards. Last year alone, 53 people were apprehended.
                The program offers anonymity, Weldon stressed, “because it can be dangerous to stand up and identify yourself as a CrimeStopper.”

Looking ahead

                This Thursday Dec. 18th is our official Annual General Meeting. We must have a quorum to stay in business. President Elect Monika Jatel will present her proposed slate of officers for the Rotary year 2015-2016. And Treasurer Ken Guido will bring us up to the date on the state of our finances.
                There will be no meetings on Thursday Dec. 25th (MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!) & January 1st (HAPPY NOO YEAR!!!!).