PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 08/19/13 -- Editors note: There are two photos accompanying this press release.
Valley First today announced that donations to its signature cause, Feed the Valley, have passed half-a-million dollars - a milestone the Penticton, B.C. based financial institution didn't expect to reach until 2015.
Launched in March 2010, Feed the Valley is a community investment program created by Valley First. The program aims to raise food, funds and awareness for food banks throughout British Columbia's Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions.
"It's simply incredible," says Valley First President Paulette Rennie of the Feed the Valley donation totals. "In 2010, we set ourselves the ambitious goal of raising $100,000 a year over the next ten years - a total of $1 million for local food banks. In less than three-and-half years we've already raised $515,000, passing the half way mark toward achieving our goal. On top of this, we've also collected close to 50,000 pounds of food for our local food banks.
"The way Feed the Valley has been embraced by our employees, members and our communities is nothing short of phenomenal," says Rennie. "Unlike many large corporate giving programs, Feed the Valley isn't funded by Valley First. The overwhelming majority of funds raised have come from our employees, members and community partners. All our supporters can take great pride in helping us achieve this $500,000 milestone."
The impact of Valley First's Feed the Valley program has not gone unnoticed outside B.C.'s southern Interior. The program has been recognized by the credit union system and financial partners as a leading corporate citizenship program. Valley First's community leadership and the success of Feed the Valley have also been recognized by B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
"Today marks a special day for Valley First and its Feed the Valley program," says Clark. "I know how hard so many people have worked since Valley First launched this unique hunger fighting initiative across the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. You set a goal. You continue to be focused on that goal. And now, you have come halfway, 18 months earlier than planned, by raising $500,000 for food banks in your region. This is fabulous and it speaks to the level of commitment and dedication of so many volunteers, as well as the residents, community partners and businesses of the communities you serve."
An essential part of Valley First's success has been its collaborative efforts with not-for profits partners, notably Food Banks BC. Earlier this year, Valley First and its parent company First West Credit Union, joined with Food Banks BC to help in the re-design of its Sharing Coupons program as well as other hunger-related initiatives.
"Over the last decade, food bank use in B.C. has increased significantly," says Food Banks B.C. executive director Laura Lansink. "The work Valley First is doing through Feed the Valley is simply tremendous. By committing to and achieving such lofty goals, they are certainly making a real difference in the communities that need it most.
"As a charitable organization, it is often hard to really explain the importance of the support we get from our community partners," says Lansink. "Valley First, Feed the Valley and First West are truly valuable partners. I applaud and congratulate them for their outstanding efforts."
Community members can support the Feed the Valley program by donating non-perishable food items or making cash donations at their nearest Valley First branch. All donations of more than $20 are tax-deductible. Donations can be made as one-time contributions, through regular, pre-authorized payments or online through www.feedthevalley.ca or through the Food Banks B.C. online donations portal at: http://www.foodbanksbc.com/get-involved/feed-the-valley/.
Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. For more information on Valley First, visit valleyfirst.com.
Follow Valley First on Facebook (www.facebook.com/valleyfirst) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/valley_first).
To view the photos accompanying this press release, click on the following links:
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