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Canada Calgary Cares: Veterans Association Food Bank sees unprecedented need; businesses step up to help

05:42  27 june  2020
05:42  27 june  2020 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Calgary ’s Veterans Association Food Bank is urging people to donate to their organization, saying they’re at a “crisis point” and desperately in need of food “We are at a crisis point,” Blackburn said. “Unfortunately, the numbers of veterans we help daily continues to grow, and as that grows so does

a sign on the side of a building: The Veterans Association Food Bank in Calgary is seeing an unprecedented number of veterans reaching out for support during COVID-19. © Global News The Veterans Association Food Bank in Calgary is seeing an unprecedented number of veterans reaching out for support during COVID-19.

It's a need they have never seen before — all brought on by COVID-19.

The Veterans Association Food Bank is a lifeline to hundreds of veterans, offering continued moral support, camaraderie and help with access to mental health and government services. It also provides essentials like food and financial aid.

Staff at the Calgary charity are reporting a 494 per cent increase in veterans reaching out for financial help and a 169 per cent increase in those needing food hampers since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

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READ MORE: Food bank for Calgary veterans in desperate need of food , cash donations. In four days, I’ve never seen such a response,” Mcleod added, calling the experience humbling. The Veterans Association Food Bank said the donations will help prepare about 200 hampers this holiday season.

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The charity has also given out more than $21,000 and 304 food hampers since the pandemic began in the middle of March.

"People come in here — they’re down to their last dime. They’ve got no food. They’ve got nothing," Veterans Association Food Bank president Tom MacCarl said.

"We don’t want to lose another soldier over something we can help."

To help fill that growing need, seven local businesses have banded together for a donation drive this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Alberta Fire & Flood restoration services warehouse in southeast Calgary.

The restoration company has partnered with MBC Group, 4-Star Electric, Graziano Investigation Services, Superior Paint & Body Service, ICS Integrated Claim Services and Economy Glass to put on the donation drive. They are all Calgary-based businesses looking to support the veterans during this tough time.

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" Banks and landlords need to do more to help us bridge the gap towards this generous government support. The Federation of Small Businesses also warned the delay in wages help - potentially until the end of April - meant many small firms would still face "an immediate, potentially terminal cash flow

More people in need . Less food being donated. And volunteers staying home.

"We wouldn't be in our situation in Canada though COVID where we have proper medical — where we have [the] ability to help — if it wasn't for our veterans in the past that have served for us for our freedom," said Dianna Adams with Alberta Fire & Flood.

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Donations of food, clothing, cash and household items are being accepted.

Association staff couldn't be more grateful for any support they receive.

"There's not enough you can say about it," MacCarl said. "It just makes you proud to be an Albertan."

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