Okanagan food bank truck called a game-changer

The Lake Country Food Bank has partnered up with its Cherryville counterparts to purchase a refrigeration truck.

The two charities said the vehicle will make a huge difference in the food they can provide to those in need.

“It makes a difference because it allows us to pick up perishable goods and transport them up and down the valley which is what we’ve been working for,” Maggie Gareau, Lake Country Food Bank Manager, said.

In order to donate items like meat, fruit and vegetables, stores require those items be picked up in a refrigerated vehicle.

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The two food banks were able to purchase the 3 ton Isuzu truck with the help of grant money: $13,950 from the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan (CFNO), $10,000 from the Central Okanagan Foundation and further funds from Food Banks of BC and the provincial government.

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Cherryville, east of Vernon on Highway 6, boasts a population of about 950, but about 75 people receive monthly assistance from the food bank.

Cheryville’s food bank also supplies the local elementary school with a milk program, breakfast program, hot lunches and an after-school program. Because local high school students attend classes in Lumby, the Cherryville Food Bank also helps that high school with their toast and lunch programs.

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“It’s proven that kids can’t learn if they’re hungry,” Cherryville Food Bank manager Sharon Harvey said. “And we do have hungry kids. It seems impossible here in Canada but we do. We want to provide them a good start to their day.”

A recent report, entitled Vital Signs, published by the CFNO, stated that only 39 per cent of Okanagan residents eat the recommended amount of fruits and veggies on a regular basis.

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“It is even tougher for low-income folks that rely on the food banks for supplementing their groceries,” CFNO executive director Leanne Hammond said.