Veterans Specific Calgary Food Bank Service Coming Soon

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As veterans support groups scramble after the early closure of the Veterans Food Bank, the Calgary Food Bank and the Royal Canadian Legion are working together to create an emergency food assistance program.

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David Klug, spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Legion Alberta-NWT command, said while no timeline has been set for its launch, it will be just another piece of the puzzle for their support of veterans. .

“It’s not just about providing emergency food service, but our branch agents work with veterans to identify the challenges they face and find the best way to resolve them,” said Klug.

“Whether it’s emergency food services, access to mental or physical health services, housing security, income security, we deal with a multitude of issues with our veterans community.

“Partnering with the food bank really allows us and the food bank to provide more comprehensive access to a variety of services and links to partnering in other services. “

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In July, the Veterans Food Bank announced it would close in January 2019 to free up funds for other initiatives. The redirected funds would fund support services to deliver what has been described as a more holistic approach, while also addressing the struggles of veterans.

However, the food bank closed its doors for good last week, months ahead of schedule. Klug said it was a decision made by the board after realizing that continuing operations were not tenable going forward.

James McAra, CEO of the Calgary Food Bank, said the program will allow the food bank to work with Legion officers to identify the specific needs of veterans.

“(The program) is something the Legion reached out to the Calgary Food Bank to let them know they are undergoing changes – we were just honored to be sure of it,” McAra said.

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“This is something the Calgary Food Bank is quite capable of doing and we are more than excited to be able to take on this role with them. At the Calgary Food Bank we can say “we can take care of the food part” and if we’re approached by someone who says he’s a veteran, we know where to call, where to connect. “

McAra said that while there is a timeline for the program to launch, the food bank is ready whenever the Legion is.

“There is obviously a transition for them and they have their heads on it,” he said.

“We assured them, whatever the need, that no one would be left behind. We want to have a better conversation to see what they are planning for the program and what parts of us as a food bank. . . here.”

The Canadian Legacy Project, which previously offered to take over the veterans food bank, said it tries to be optimistic about this new partnership, but is not convinced it will work.

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“I would like to be, like most people, optimistic about this, but I think we have to wait and see what the real outcome will be here – especially how this whole situation has been handled since the Legion announced its closure. . the Veterans Food Bank. . . to speed up the closing date, ”said project CEO Melanie Mitra, who added that she was concerned about the motive behind this.

“I don’t know if this is a reaction to a negative backlash from the early shutdown. If there was really an intention to have a durable solution in place, why was it not done from the start? “

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On Twitter: @ zjlaing

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