Veterans Association Food Bank hosting garage sale fundraiser

Thousands of items are up for grabs for a good cause this weekend, as the Veterans Association Food Bank is hosting a garage sale to help raise money for its services.

The food bank was launched in October, after the Calgary Poppy Fund's food bank closed.

Wendy Kelman brought her 86-year-old father Edgar Jenkins, a veteran. Jenkins said he joined the military when he was 17 and served for 32 years.

Jenkins said the food bank is a good thing, adding that younger vets these days really need the support. "It seems they're leaving them guys out, and they, you know, they did their part."

Kelman said she and her father are part of a military family, including a brother, two nephews and cousins.

 "We're happy to help. We loaded up our vehicle and brought a bunch of donations in. Hopefully I don't take home too much more stuff than I just donated," Kelman said.

"I'm wanting my dad to see this as well, he comes from a small town and only came to Calgary a couple of years ago so to see what a city like Calgary is doing is pretty special."

Terri Trembath/CBC

Allan Hunter, who works with veterans, says the money will go beyond providing meals. He says providing food is just the front line of the resources they offer, including mental health services.

"You start by filling the belly and then we start looking at 'OK why did the belly get empty, what are the issues that are going on in that veteran's life or veteran's family life'," he said. "So this helps to get the veteran back to some level of stability and get some things  in place so they can have a much better quality of life."

Addressing mental health for veterans in need is a vital part of their mission, said Hunter.

"I mean if we're at their funeral because they gave up, the country has failed, the government has failed and we failed and we have made it a mission not to fail anymore," he said.

Terri Trembath/CBC

Wendy Kelman is grateful for the mental health mandate.

"We're well too aware, and it has hit our family," she said. "And so anything we can do to try and help out, because we have a loved one that is suffering. anything we can do to help that person, we would do it, and to try to help out any other family as well."

The garage sale is happening all weekend at 416 28 St N.E., and there are more details on the Veteran Association Food Bank website.