Charity Spotlight, Veterans Association Food Bank, Canada Flag

Veterans Association Food Bank

June 19, 2023 • Charity Spotlight

This month we are excited to talk about the Veterans Association Food Bank, which is an amazing charity that provides not only food, but valuable resources and support, to veterans. Please read on to find out more about the work they do, and how you can help support their organization. Also, with Canada Day just around the corner, we asked veterans to share what the day means to them. You can find their answers throughout the post. 

The Veterans Association Food Bank is much more than a food bank. As a non-profit organization, they are seeking to end homelessness, hunger, isolation, and suicide by offering resources and peer support to veterans. Veterans are welcomed with open arms by other veterans, who understand their struggles and needs. 

Far too often, veterans feel abandoned, and don’t receive the support needed to transition into life after service. The Veterans Association aims to bridge this gap and help assist veterans to get back to living full and prosperous lives. 

What does Canada Day mean to you? 

“Just proud really. Proud to be in a country that is free.”

Bob, Air Force Veteran

There are several programs offered by the Veterans Association:

Food hampers 

Food hampers are provided monthly to veterans, including food items and gift cards. The gift cards allow veterans to purchase fresh produce, and it also helps them to get into the community, learn how to budget and understand the cost of living.  

Food hampers also include a kid “snack pack.” To help the children feel acknowledged, they make sure to give goody bags, which include special items for them to enjoy. 

Veterans hiring program 

Courses and training are available, including resume support. The association also hires veterans, which often assists with providing individuals a purpose and gives them the opportunity to build up confidence before returning to a more traditional job.  

Peer support nights 

Veterans benefit from the support of other veterans. Peer support nights are more formal but are not about talking about the past. Rather, they are to discuss what is going in their lives and what further support or help they may need. It’s an opportunity to have a safe and understanding space to share and offer encouragement.

What does Canada Day mean to you? 

“One of the freeist countries in the world. Proud to have served and would do it again!”

Joe, Royal Canadian Navy Veteran, 27 years & 2 days of service. 

Pet care promise 

Pets help immensely with isolation and play a significant role in the lives of veterans. The Veterans Association doesn’t want to make individuals have to choose between food or their best friend, so they provide pet food and treats as well as support for grooming and veterinary visits.  

EVAC (Emergency Veterans Assistance Cost) 

The Veterans Association helps individuals assess their financial situation on a case-by-case basis. From finding affordable housing to freeing up funds to handle specific situations, they will provide the support needed to get veterans back on their feet financially.

What does Canada Day mean to you? 

“My parents are immigrants from Poland. They came to Canada with one suitcase and a big dream. I appreciate Canada for the opportunity to be here”

Maya, Currently serving Air Force, 12 years as a Clerk, and 4 years NavComm. 

Disability paperwork 

Claims for mental and physical disabilities often don’t get filled out because people are unsure of what to complete or are intimidated by technology. The Veterans Association will help fill out the necessary paperwork to ensure veterans receive the benefits they are entitled to. In some cases, they may not even realize available options, and the program is set up to increase their income to help meet their financial needs.  

We had the pleasure of speaking with Melanie, volunteer Finance Coordinator with the Veterans Association and veteran herself, who shared the story of one man, who was homeless and living out of his truck. After seeking the assistance of the Veterans Association, his situation was assessed. They were able to find him transitional housing, gave him retraining, and access to mental health support and resources he didn’t realize he was entitled to. After one year, he is back on his feet and recently purchased a cow to be butchered and gifted to other veterans who are in similar situations he was once in.  

She also shared the moving story of another veteran who called on Christmas Eve, requesting a large bag of dog food. The Executive Director stated that they wouldn’t just bring him the dog food, but a hamper of food as well. When they arrived at his home, he was shocked. As it turned out, he was planning on ending his life, and wanted to ensure his dog had enough food until he was discovered. It was the kindness and intervention of the Veterans Association who helped change his life. One year later he is thriving, and just bought a home.  

What does Canada Day mean to you? 

“I am proud of where I am from, it is safe. There is so much more opportunity due to the support systems in place”

Kailan, daughter of Veteran parents 
Photo courtesy of Veterans Association

How can you help? 

Donations of non-perishable food items are needed as well as gift cards to grocery stores. Any amount is appreciated (please include the dollar amount on the card when donating). Monetary donations are welcome, and all funds go to purchase food to stock the shelves of the association.

Items needed: 

  • Beefaroni, Ravioli, canned Pasta 
  • Mushroom soup, soda crackers 
  • Honey 
  • Jams 
  • Canned meat or fish (tuna, chicken, salmon) 
  • Boxed potatoes, hashbrowns 
  • Pancake mix, pancake syrup 
  • Instant rice 
  • Dry soup mix, soup broth 
  • Hamburger Helper 
  • Cake mix 
  • Juice boxes  
  • Toiletries 
  • Assorted juice (1L or kids school size) 

Another great way to help support the Veterans Association is running a food drive in your community. Volunteers can give whatever amount of time they like and is greatly appreciated. If your company or organization offers sponsorships for grants, please contact the association. 

What does Canada Day mean to you? 

“Being Canadian means everything to me. I am proud to call Canada my home, I am proud to have served in the Military and do my part. I am also proud of all our Veterans for their service and sacrifice to our Country and Overseas. Our Veterans have paved the way for future generations with their service. I am proud to have done my part.”

Melanie, Canadian Army, 20 years service

Upcoming events 

You can find the Veterans Association taking part of many events around the city this summer! On June 17, they will be at the Edmonton International Raceway for Responder/Health Care Workers Night and on July 8, they are excited for the Edmonton StingersHoops for Troops” game against The Winnipeg Sea Bears.

They also invite people to join them on June 21 to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with Bannock, stew, drummers, and dancers from 12pm-2pm. The Veterans Association is located at: 18504 111 Avenue Northwest, Edmonton, Alberta. 

Be sure to follow the Veterans Association on Facebook for updates and news!

We want to thank the amazing people at the Veterans Association for the support and resources they provide. We also want to say a sincere thank you to every individual who serves or has served our country.  

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