A new food bank has arisen in West Kelowna to serve single-parent families and seniors.
Donations of cash, food and gift certificates are being accepted by the Friendly People's Single Family and Seniors Food Bank.
"I'm involved because I believe in giving back to the community," spokeswoman Shari Lowther said Wednesday. "I want to help make sure that children and older people in our community have a great Christmas."
Lowther, who runs a marketing and communications company, says she's been going door-to-door on the Westside to spread the word about the new food bank. She says she has about eight people helping her.
The fledgling food bank operates out of a building at 3455 Elliot Rd. in Westbank. That is the same building used by the now defunct Bette's Single Family and Seniors Food Bank.
In October, the Canada Revenue Agency stripped that food bank of its charitable status, saying it had violated numerous sections of the Income Tax Act.
The CRA said only 20 per cent of cash donations received by that food bank went to the purchase of food. It said more than $45,000 in cash donations was spent on president Bette Ladd's wages, car and cellphone in 2008.
Ladd said at the time she was "spitting tacks" because she was so mad at the CRA's decision, and blamed the irregularities on a previous accountant. She said she would appeal the CRA's decision. Ladd is not involved in the new food bank, Lowther said. The building that housed the former food bank and in which the new one operates is owned by Lowther's relatives.
Lowther said she decided to start a new food bank when she saw the gap left by the cessation of Ladd's operation. Lowther acknowledges she's encountered some skepticism as she promotes the new food bank: "Yes, it is a little bit of a struggle because of what happened."
But she said donations are starting to come in. The organization is not yet incorporated under the Societies Act of B.C., and it has not yet been granted status as a charitable organization by the Canada Revenue Agency.
Lowther says applications for both designations are in the works, and she expects confirmation of their approval by the end of December.