Kalamalka Rotary members, community volunteers and local businesses joined together to gift a commercial-grade dream kitchen to CMHA Vernon. (CMHA photo)

Dream funds serve up dream kitchen for Okanagan organization

CMHA upgrades space thanks to Kalamalka Dream Auction donation

A generous gift of $25,000 from the Kalamalka Rotary Dream Auction turned kitchen nightmares into a commercial-grade dream kitchen for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“The cabinet doors were falling off almost daily, the counter tops and back splash were peeling, the sanitizer broke down, and the stove didn’t work,” said CMHA Executive Director Julia Payson.

Kalamalka Rotarian Dave DeShane took on the task of managing the renovation project, bringing in a dedicated team of volunteers and caring businesses who donated their time and offered significant discounts on equipment and supplies.

“We are grateful to Kal Rotary and the volunteers and businesses for their overwhelming support in elevating this project from a kitchen renovation to an inspiring community collaboration,” said Payson.

CMHA’s nutrition program supports healthy living and ongoing recovery for people living with a mental illness by providing affordable nutritious meals six days per week, as well as take-out meals. By expanding the service last year to include an extra day, CMHA staff and volunteers prepared and shared more than 9,000 meals.

“We also offer a nutrition education component, volunteer cooking and support roles, employment training, food safe classes, and a huge community-building social component. Our kitchen is truly the heart of CMHA programming, bringing people together for healthy food and social interaction,” said Payson.

CMHA Vernon has been successfully running this program for nearly 20 years, while also using the kitchen facility for youth programming, and sharing the space with other organizations who work with people in need of nutrition and social connection.

“We are pleased to be able to support CMHA Vernon who in turn help so many others in our community,” said Mike Nolan, Chair of the Local Donations Committee, Kal Rotary.

Over the past 34 years of the Dream Auction, which takes place this Saturday, Kalamalka Rotary has raised over $4 million dollars with 100 per cent of the proceeds from the event given to local and international not-for-profit groups.

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