Posted by Jim Taylor on Jan 02, 2021
 
Santa came early to the Lake Country Food Bank, when Rotary past-president Ken Guido inscribed a check for $5000 covering the cost of a brand-new industrial-strength food dryer.

The money comes from Rotary’s promotion of Save-On-Foods gift cards, which have so far generated approximately $45,000 in funding for the Food Bank.

The food drier itself is worth $1435. The balance of the cheque will go to general operations.

The Food Bank needs the drier, because it receives shipments of fruit and produce every day from stores such as Save-On-Foods and IGA.
Those perishable foods go into hampers distributed to needy families on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But fresh fruit that arrives on a Thursday may not still be usable by Tuesday the following week. Even with refrigeration.

The answer -- dry it! Apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, all can be dried, and then be available for use anytime. Even mangoes can be turned into fruit leather.
 
The Food Bank has long been supported by the Rotary Club of Lake Country. Indeed, without Rotary’s participation, the Food Bank might not have its new building at all. Rotary took the lead in organizing support and funding for the new building on Bottom Wood Lake Road, next to the Seniors’ Centre.

After several years of seeking alternate sites, Rotary concluded that only a permanent building would serve the region’s needs. By lobbying for public support, Rotary won a $100,000 grant from Aviva Life Assurance. Coupled with land provided by the District of Lake Country and labour donated by the apprenticeship program at Okanagan College, plus donations, that was enough to construct and complete the present building, worth approximately $1 million.

Today the Food Bank has two floors stacked to the ceiling with supplies, and services a network of helping institutions up and down the valley, from Peachland in the south to Salmon Arm in the north, west to Cherryville and even beyond to Nakusp and Revelstoke.

The Lake Country Food Assistance Society owns two trucks, which are on the road every day, distributing supplies to and from other food banks.
At one point, stores like Save-On-Foods and IGA worried that having the Food Bank hand out free products would harm their own sales. Manager Joy Haxton says they have found that’s not so. As people see and use their brands, store sales have improved.

The Save-On gift cards, promoted by Rotary are redeemable for merchandise at any Save-On-Foods store.
The cards come in denominations from $50-$200, and work like cash. But every dollar spent using a gift card provides 8% directly to the Food Bank. An anonymous backer adds another 8%. And because of the Food Bank’s purchasing power, that 16% turns into as much as 40% on bulk food purchases.

Gift cards are available from any Rotary member, or online at cards@lakecountryrotary.ca.

A recommendation -- don’t just buy a card once, use it, and forget it. Keep getting new cards to cover your grocery needs, and keep the support coming.