Valley First shares the spirit
With Christmas fast approaching, Valley First employees are once again supporting those less fortunate through the South Okanagan Women in Need Society’s annual Share the Spirit program.
For more than two decades, Valley First’s Val Washburn has co-ordinated the company’s Share the Spirit gift and hamper program. While downplaying her involvement and singing the praises of all who contribute money and time, Washburn’s passion for helping others cannot be hidden.
“It takes 50 people to accomplish this feat and we are all very proud of the difference our efforts make,” said Washburn of the commitment to the Christmas hamper concept.
This year Valley First is putting together hampers for four families, or a total of 16 women and children. For each recipient, one Valley First employee buys the gift and another wraps it. Four more employees buy groceries for a week’s worth of food. Yet another Valley First crew loads the van and delivers the Christmas hampers. Taking things a step further, several Valley First employees have involved their own children to show them charity in action.
“I couldn’t think about doing it without them,” Washburn says of her colleagues. “They’re just wonderful. They all share the spirit and do their part by giving of themselves to help others in our community.”
The South Okanagan Women in Need Society takes a stand against family violence. It also encourages women facing domestic abuse — with or without children — to submit an anonymous wish list. The list is matched with an anonymous donor.
SOWINS’ goal through Share the Spirit is to feed the woman and her children for a week at Christmas. That means $60 worth of groceries for a single woman, and $125 for a mother with two children. A donor is also encouraged to contribute two new presents per recipient.
Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. First West has approximately $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and 1,300 employees.