Why I Give: Because I believe in paying it forward

By Meredith Birchall-Spencer

I’ve been donating to the Employee Giving Campaign through the First West Foundation—since starting in my role with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, more than two years ago. That said I’ve been contributing to charitable causes for as long as I’ve been working. It makes me feel good to know that my donations, big or small, go towards helping those less fortunate than myself.  

I choose to divert my dollars towards Feed the Valley, our signature cause at Valley First, to reduce hunger throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. In 2016, our contributions towards this initiative surpassed the $1 million mark, which was a milestone we didn’t expect to reach until 2020.  

I was fortunate growing up that my family wasn’t worried about putting food on the table each night. However several years ago I was shocked to learn that one-third of the people who use food banks in B.C. are children. That’s astoundingly high! How can a child have a healthy upbringing if they’re hungry? Thinking of this, it makes donating to Feed the Valley a no-brainer.

Those who donate to charity are motivated to do so for any number of reasons. Of course there’s the obvious tax incentive, but I choose to donate because I can. I believe in paying it forward. Life can change on a dime—you never know when your circumstances will shift and you’ll need to rely on the generosity and kindness of others to get by. 

Whatever your motivation, I encourage everyone to give what they can, when they can. You may surprise yourself by how good it feels. Think about the issues that are most meaningful to you, and contribute to organizations that are taking strides to better these causes. It’s important that you feel your donations have meaning—that your hard-earned dollars are making a difference.