KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 19, 2016) - Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, today announced donations to its signature cause, Feed the Valley, have passed the $1 million mark - a milestone Valley First didn't expect to reach until 2020.

"This is simply a phenomenal achievement; to say I'm amazed is an understatement," says Valley First president, Paulette Rennie. "In 2010, we boldly stated we'd raise $100,000 a year, every year for 10 years - putting $1 million toward our local food banks. In six years - a full four years ahead of schedule - we've reached our goal. On top of that, we've also collected close to 70,000 pounds of food. This is far beyond our wildest expectations and I'm so proud of this achievement."

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.

"The way Feed the Valley has been embraced by our employees, members and communities is incredible," says Rennie. "While many large corporate giving programs are corporately funded, Feed the Valley is supported largely by our employees, members and community partners like the Okanagan Newspaper Group and Global Okanagan. It's certainly a collective effort and together, our ongoing commitment to the fight against hunger has been critical to the success of Feed the Valley."

Laura Lansink, executive director of Food Banks BC also notes the impact Feed the Valley has made in supporting food banks in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys, "With more than 100,000 individuals needing assistance from B.C.'s food banks every month, the impact of Feed the Valley has been tremendously encouraging. For every $1 dollar that has been raised, our food banks have been able to provide the equivalent of three meals to every person, family and child that has turned to them for help. For Feed the Valley to reach the $1 million milestone this quickly is truly incredible and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to everyone involved!"

Moreover, the success of Feed the Valley has not gone unnoticed beyond the Southwest Interior. The Premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, remarked in a congratulatory note on the importance of Valley First's community leadership in championing this hunger-fighting initiative. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported Feed the Valley - your compassion is truly making a difference in the lives of many people in need in your communities," Clark's note read. "I know that a lot of effort goes into co-ordinating a program like this, and I would like to commend everyone at Valley First for their hard work to raise awareness and help to eradicate hunger from the Valley."

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 or through the Food Banks B.C. online donations portal at:

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 40 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. Visit for more information.

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