Anonymous donor pays off food bank's mortgage
Published Thursday, October 6, 2016 4:20PM PDT
A West Kelowna food bank received an unprecedented donation, allowing staff to pay off its mortgage in a single day.
The facility in the Westbank community supports residents in need in West Kelowna, giving clients hampers of food based on the size of their household. It also offers free shoe vouchers, a community garden, school supplies for children and toys at Christmas.
The food bank is one of two branches of the Central Okanagan Food Bank, and the organization says one-third of its client base under the age of 15. The Kelowna and Westside Community Food Banks amalgamated in 2015 to form the COFB.
Both branches rely on volunteers to do most of the work, and contributors to pay the bills. But thanks to an anonymous donor, the food bank no longer needs to worry about its monthly mortgage payments.
With the stroke of a pen, an anonymous donor eliminated the food bank's debt, signing a cheque for $190,000. The donor asked only that the money be used to pay off the rest of the food bank's mortgage.
The donor is unknown, even to most members of the food bank's board of directors.
"I think that's one of the most generous things that you're ever going to see," manager Gary Lynch told CTV News.
"You do a massive donation and you don't want your name in lights, you don't want the entire world to know."
In celebration, the food bank hosted a mortgage burning ceremony on Wednesday, attended by food bank users and contributors.
"It means a lot. It's going to help a lot of people," said Leah Willis, a single mother who uses the food bank.
Contributor Marg Leveck said the donation was humbling: "What do you say to something like that? That's awesome, God bless them."
The massive donation means that the food bank can now use the $1,800 a month previously earmarked for mortgage payments on much-needed items for its clients.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Kent Molgat