Gagan Gill

Gagan Gill

Credit union ready to fill food bank

The Island Savings division of First West Credit Union is set to provide ‘the equivalent of’ 650,000 meals

The Island Savings division of First West Credit Union is set to provide ‘the equivalent of’ 650,000 meals to children and families over the next three years.

An Aug. 17 media release noted that back-to-school expenses are on the horizon and food bank shelves are depleted in many Island communities at this time of year, and that their Full Cupboard program is intended address the need.

“Through a combination of food, funds and awareness-raising activities, The Full Cupboard is a new community investment program from Island Savings that aims to reduce hunger across the Islands,” says the press release.

“At this time of year thousands of Island parents are stretched to buy new clothing and school supplies while still managing to put food on the table,” says Randy Bertsch, president of Island Savings.

“Thanks to the buying power of food banks, one dollar a day can feed a child in BC – and so raising funds with our members and employees through The Full Cupboard will relieve some of this immediate need for food while we develop capacity-building programs to reduce food bank dependence in the long term.”

An initial $8,800 has been raised though employee and member donations over the summer. The money will go directly to 11 food banks located in neighbourhoods served by Island Savings.

Donors can also choose to support the “greatest need”, whereby donations are funneled by Food Banks BC to any Island-based food bank with urgent needs.

“We’re incredibly excited to be a recipient of donations from The Full Cupboard,” says Colleen Fuller, manager of the Cowichan Valley Basket Society. “We fill more than 450 baskets a month with a week’s worth of groceries to help individuals and families on a limited income stretch their food budget a bit further.”

“Cash donations help us buy the core components of these hampers.”

The Full Cupboard is an expansion of the Growing Island Families Together (GIFT) program that Island Savings has been building for the past six years, the release says.

GIFT helps at-risk Island children build self-confidence, resilience and engagement with their communities.

Financial donations to The Full Cupboard can be made in any Island Savings branch or online at