A message from Kendall Gross | President
I hope you enjoyed the B.C. Day long weekend. One of the things I know you love about your credit union is our dedication to supporting our communities—I hear this from members all the time. I’m proud to share that our employees volunteered nearly 795 days to help those in need last year and The Full Cupboard—our signature cause program—generated $77,550 and 2,730 pounds of food in 2019, equivalent to 232,650 meals for British Columbians.
We do this because lending a hand to those in need is embedded in our culture—our mission is to help our members and communities thrive.
Answering the call of our community partners
At the beginning of the pandemic, we stepped it up even more by expediting funding to our charitable partners through a rapid deployment Community Response Fund. COVID-19 hit our communities’ most vulnerable populations hard—removing access to food banks, mental or developmental services and furthering loss of income. Since we launched this initiative in May, the First West Foundation, the philanthropic partner of First West Credit Union, has granted nearly $100,000 to charitable organizations focused on food security and basic needs for youth, families and seniors across Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands.
One such organization was the Cowichan Green Society, which focuses on environmental sustainability and food security. Within a week of the pandemic, the society established an Emergency Food Task Force, which has since delivered thousands of food hampers from the Malahat to Lake Cowichan to Ladysmith.
Another beneficiary of the Community Response Fund was Ladysmith Family and Friends, which went from delivering its program for vulnerable families in person to creating a drive-through facility and online services to ensure the 500 young families could continue to receive much-needed food and basic needs support.
Supporting local business: Members helping members
As a financial cooperative, we know one of the best ways to support our communities is to support our local business members, so we’ve stepped up to offer discounts to our members when they support our business members. Get a Meal, Give a Meal, which just wrapped up on July 31, offered members $25 off one order of $50 or more at participating Island Savings member restaurants. Even better, for each order that was placed, we kicked in $5 for The Full Cupboard. The response from you, our members, was overwhelming. In total you purchased 453 meals, and we reimbursed businesses $11,325 and made $2,265 in donations to The Full Cupboard, providing the equivalent of 6,795 meals to families using food banks throughout the region.
On the heels of that success, we decided to create a new program to help you save money while exploring B.C. this summer. Check out this fantastic list of discounts and special offers that our member lodging providers have created just for you.
It’s so gratifying to see how our business members are responding to the pandemic as well. I find the story of Rhino Labour incredibly inspiring. Like so many other Vancouver Island-based business owners, COVID-19 challenged Greg, president of Rhino Labour, to reimagine aspects of his business for the safety of those he works with. As our member at Island Savings, his advisor was there to help him through it. Watch his story here.
Here for you from the start
At Island Savings, we’ve been here for you since the beginning of this pandemic with most of our branches remaining open. With member and employee health as our utmost concern, we reduced the service of our branches and at the same time expanded our Member Advice Centre, our online banking tools and mobile app to ensure you can do more of your day to day banking without leaving the comfort of your home. I’m pleased to announce that we’re entering the next phase of our re-entry plan and our Lake Cowichan branch is reopening on August 10. As we increase our in-person services, I want to remind you that the pandemic is still very much a concern and you can still do most of your day to day banking remotely with our online banking tools, mobile app or by calling our Member Advice Centre.
Stay safe and enjoy the summer with your families (from a distance, of course).
Kendall Gross | President, Island Savings