The Veterans Association Food Bank was created in August 2018 following the abrupt closure of the Royal Canadian Legion's Veteran food bank. The loss of this support system was felt by many in the Veteran community.
Marie Blackburn, a former employee of the now-closed food bank and Veteran family member, saw the loss felt by the Veterans she had come to know throughout her time at the previous food bank. The risk of hunger, homelessness and isolation was too great for those Veterans left without a support system. Marie let that be her driving force. Something had to be done to replace the void left by the closure of the Veteran food bank.
Founding the Veterans Association Food Bank was the first step towards rectifying to closure of an essential service to Veterans and filling the gap. Consulting with the Veteran community was integral to address all other challenges and gaps in support faced by Canadian Veterans. This became a pillar initiative within the Organization – Veterans Helping Veterans.
The initiative, Veterans Helping Veterans, helps develop programs best suited to the support of fellow Veterans and Veteran families. We all want to get to a better place. A place of security, camaraderie, empathy and purpose – together.
Today, we are expanding our facility, networking into new communities, growing our programs and reaching out to more Veterans than we thought possible. Our tremendous growth and success in providing assistance to nearly 500 individual Veterans and Veteran families is thanks to our donors, hardworking staff, volunteers, and Association Members.
“At the Veterans Association Food Bank, Veterans have found a sense of purpose and support that has helped change lives. We provide more than a social opportunity to our Veterans. We provide more than just food to our Veterans. Our programs prevent hunger, homelessness and suicide. Our programs help enrich the lives of Veterans and offer them hope for the future.
‘Without the VAFB, I wouldn’t be here.’
‘For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have a purpose.’
Hearing profound testimonies from the Veterans we have assisted is what drives us to work harder for our Veteran community. I am honoured to be a part of this support system. The Veterans Association Food Bank and I thank you for your service. Thank you for fighting for our freedom.”
- Marie Blackburn