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First West Credit Union Helps Bring Text-To-Donate to the Fight Against Hunger in B.C.

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct 1, 2014) - Close to 100,000 British Columbians access food banks every month, including more than 30,000 children. In the face of this unceasing demand, First West Credit Union has given food banks across B.C. a technological shot in the arm.

As part of its partnership with Food Banks BC, First West has helped the parent association of B.C.'s food banks add text-to-donate capability to its fundraising efforts.

The mobile giving technology is in place just in time for the Global BC Thanks For Giving Food Drive on October 8. Donors can text 'FOOD' to 41010 to donate $5, $10, $20 or $25 to Food Banks BC.

"We've wanted to do this for a long time, but cost has been prohibitive," says Laura Lansink executive director of Food Banks BC. "We wouldn't have this important giving channel without the support of First West Credit Union and its regional brands."

Text-to-donate options have been growing in popularity over the past few years. The Red Cross generated $21 million in texted donations supporting relief efforts for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

"The results we've been able to help local food banks achieve speak to the power of First West's business model," says Susan Byrom, manger of community investment at First West. "We're able to take what we've learned about a successful program in one of our regions and bring it to benefit communities and partner organizations in our other region."

She notes in particular Valley First's signature cause Feed the Valley. Committed to reducing hunger in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys, the program has raised nearly $725,000 and more than 60,000 pounds of food to date. The success of Feed the Valley directly benefited First West as Envision Financial launched The Full Cupboard in March 2013 to help tackle hunger in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Kitimat regions of B.C. To date, the Full Cupboard has raised close to $145,000 and nearly 17,000 pounds of food.

First West also supported Food Banks BC in the re-launch of its BC Sharing Coupon program. The program aims to ensure a variety of fresh healthy foods critical to every person's nutritional needs are available to local community food banks.

"Our partnership with First West and its regional brands, Valley First, Envision Financial, and Enderby & District Financial, has helped us raise much needed food, funds and awareness for our local food banks," says Lansink."

The text-to-donate capability will become a regular donation channel for Food Banks BC and all proceeds will be used for their operations that support the 94 food banks throughout the province.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. It operates 38 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit www.firstwestcu.ca.

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