The 7th annual Veterans and Seniors’ Food Drive will take place from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15 to raise money and supply food to veterans and seniors with low incomes in Calgary.
David Howard is the founder of the food drive which works in partnership with the Canadian Legacy Project. According to him, it still remains the only food drive for Veterans and seniors across Canada.
“I initiated the food drive to raise awareness, and it was founded for vets and seniors living in poverty,” says Howard.
“School kids are the number one supporters of the Veterans and Seniors’ Food Drive,” says Howard.
He marvels at the fact that the school children are willing to collect their change and reach into their piggy banks to donate and yet according to Howard, “We have no corporate sponsors.”
Each year, retired veterans come to schools throughout Calgary to educate them on the war and peace missions that these veterans have fought for.
“The food bank started as a closet, and now it’s a food bank that fills two warehouses,” says Howard.
The goal for this year’s food drive was to raise $100 000 cash and to fill the two warehouses with food. According to Howard, this will be enough to feed veterans and seniors in Calgary for an entire year.
Unfortunately, many war veterans and seniors are too proud to ask for help, and the donated proceeds and food haven’t always been so helpful.
“Veterans will go hungry before they take food from women and children. They’ll eat cat food before asking for help,” says Howard.
Since Howard founded the food drive, the food bank has grown more successful each year, and sometimes veterans take the initiative to volunteer for themselves.
“As First and Second World War veterans pass on, there is a misconception that there will be no more need to help veterans in poverty,” says Howard.
“The help needed to support Canada’s veterans is actually growing to support the younger veterans of today.”
Canadian veterans serving today have come from Afghanistan and aren’t able to find work when they come home.
In addition to facing poverty back home, many also suffered serious trauma and injuries during their service , and Howard doesn’t understand why there isn’t more available support for these people.
Despite the success of the food bank, Howard has hopes and plans to take it even further.
“I’d like more corporate development. I’d like to see more veterans’ food banks across Canada,” says Howard.
From Nov. 1-15, people dropped off their donations at Crown Surplus in Inglewood, at 1005 11th St. S.E.
Some of the food donated was to be sent to the Golden Age Club of Calgary which will eventually go into hampers for other low income seniors.