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New food bank to rise

Construction of a new food bank for the residents of Lake Country is almost ready to begin.

Ground breaking on the building is targeted for March 16, with students from Okanagan College lending a hand with construction of the facility.

Students in the school’s trades training program will spend 16 weeks outside the classroom, taking part in many stages of the construction process. UBCO’s engineering department also had a hand in analysis on the project.

“We’re really excited about our tie-in with the college,” says Bob Rymarchuk, special projects director with the Lake Country Rotary Club.

“Being able to work with both of them on this project has been excellent. And I think it’s a great way to tie this type of community project to (the schools) and their students.”

The new food bank has been aided by a $100,000 community development grant from Aviva Insurance, but is still short of its fundraising goal.

Suppliers and contractors have also offered to help, but organizers are unsure how much of what is needed, and when. Rymarchuk says they’ll have a better idea once construction is underway.

The tentative completion date is the end of the year.

“We are really going to push to have it ready for them to use by December of 2015,” he says.

“Of course, that will depend on some of these unknowns that we’re working with. But it's not an unrealistic schedule as far as the construction goes for the size of the building.”

Overall, he’s thrilled with how things have come together and especially with how the community banded together with the online campaign. But it was the involvement of Okanagan College that allowed the food bank to finally glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re all very pleased with how this has come together. It’s been a lot of hard work up until now,” adds Rymarchuk.

“It think it shows what all can be done; what’s possible when you get a dedicated group of people together and try to make something like this happen without huge government grants.”

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