The 100 Mile House Food Bank Society has officially bought its building.
Food bank president Danny Williams said they were able to buy the facility thanks to donations from the community, local businesses and a $75,000 grant from the Westin Family Foundation. The building’s former owner Waldemar Weber also offered them a very generous price, said grant coordinator Amber Summerhayes.
They expect to pay off the $380,000 mortgage within 15 years, thanks to Royal Bank’s low-interest rate.
“We just banked all the money and we saved up enough to put a downpayment on the building,” Williams said. “We were paying $2,000 a month for rent and our mortgage payment is lower than that, so it gives us a sense of relief.”
The society has made several improvements to the building over the last few years, including a new central heating system, a walk-in freezer, new washrooms, air conditioning and new lights. These were paid for by grants.
“It would have been a shame to do all of these renovations and not own (the building),” Williams said.
Williams said ownership means they can make other changes such as resurfacing the third bay, which is unevenly paved with bricks. He could even see them adding on a fourth bay for more storage.
The building will offer stability to the food bank and its regular clientele of 700 people. Summerhayes said they have been seeing an additional 10 people a week, which she attributes to inflation and a rise in gas prices. The recent mill closures and the COVID-19 pandemic haven’t helped.
Sandra Pickering, a volunteer at the food bank since 2008, agreed that demand is higher than she’s ever seen it. When she started they were giving out 60 hampers a month, but it’s now doubled to 120. She is among 20 regular volunteers at the food bank.
Williams said they recently spent $28,000 on food to serve their clients over the next few months. They welcome cash donations.
The food bank is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Hamper days remain the first and third Tuesdays of every month.