Fuel Good Day: Canadian Legacy Project

September 10, 2017

Fuel good logoJust by filling up your gas tank at local Co-op gas bars you can help local charities — and YOU get to pick where your money goes.

On Tuesday, September 19, Calgary Co-op will donate 5¢ per litre of gas or diesel purchased from our gas bars.

From now until September 19, visit the voting page to choose the community organization you’d like to receive your donation.

After the votes are tallied, each organization will receive the percentage of the donation that corresponds with the percentage of votes they receive.

We’re looking at all the charities and what they do to help you make your decision. Today, meet the Canadian Legacy Project.

Getting to know the Canadian Legacy Project

It was a horrifying personal moment that made David Howard realize Canadian veterans needed more help and support.

“Twelve years ago I went to visit my grandfather who is a veteran living in Vancouver. He was living in a shoe box of an apartment. I slept on the floor. When I woke up, he'd gotten up earlier than me and he was eating dog food,” recalls Howard.

“I asked my grandfather what was going on, why are you eating dog food. I said go to the food bank, and he said no, those are for women and children, they are not for me. I said they are for you. You put your life on the line for this country.” 

While Howard’s heart broke for his grandfather, he began to realize the situation was not unique. 

“I was out on the streets talking to Veterans and they are homeless. They need a roof over their heads and they are suffering from post-traumatic stress. They have started self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. I decided that this has got to stop,” says Howard. “It was there I started the Veteran's Food Drive. We are into our eleventh year.  Co-op has been a partner of ours from day one.”

While the Veteran’s Food Bank started out as a storage closet, today it’s grown exponentially, encompassing four warehouses and legions of volunteers, helping 10,000 veterans every year.  

Hughes is proud that the Canadian Legacy Project is 100% volunteer managed and has extraordinarily little overhead, so 96% of all money that comes in goes directly to help veterans.

The Canadian Legacy Project has also expanded its focus over the years, and now also provides Post Traumatic Stress Disorder services, which includes matching a veteran who’s withdrawn from society with a service dog.

“It changes their life,” says Howard adamantly. “They now go from bunkering in the basement where they are not leaving or associating or talking to anyone for over a year, and the house is a mess, they are hoarding and there is alcoholism. Within a week or two of getting a service dog they are leaving, integrating back into society. They are getting jobs, they are quitting alcohol and quitting drugs. This dog is giving them a whole new lease on life and they feel confident they can go anywhere.” 

The Canadian Legacy Project is also the organization responsible for the annual Field of Crosses event on Memorial Drive ahead of Remembrance Day. Sunrise ceremonies honour individual veterans and their families, but also give the public a chance to pay respects.

Howard is thankful Co-op customers are stepping up again to help veterans. 

“We have the freedom of free speech, the freedom to move about, we have the freedom to be an entrepreneur, to make as much money as we decide we are going to do, we have the freedom to work hard because of these men and women who had put their lives on the line. I would simply ask Co-op customers to support those who stood up for us and made sure that we are living a beautiful life in Calgary.”

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