Garage sale serves as rallying point for veterans community
Wayne Federation (left) and Karmen McKay prepare items to be sold at the Veteran's Association Garage Sale
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 4:34PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 6:06PM MDT
A warehouse in northeast Calgary will be stocked with thousands of donated items for the next three days, in the hopes of raising funds for military veterans.
The broad range of goods, from analog records to lightly-used shoes, has come by donation from across the province. The Veterans’ Association Food Bank has transformed its entire space to host the sale.
Organizers say the event goes far deeper than simply selling goods; it provides a social framework for the public to personally interact with veterans.
“This is why you won’t forget,” said Allan Hunter of Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans of Canada. “You can come here, buy some goods, support veterans, hear their personal stories, hear about their struggles and coming home.”
Past the tables lined with goods, at the very back of the warehouse, sat 65 year-old Karmen McKay who served in the military for 22 years.
His table was decorated with polished fossils and rocks containing ammolite, which he sells as jewelry. Despite his valuable goods, McKay said his main focus is to interact with other veterans. “This is one way of finding one person at a time and helping them to recover and bounce back to become a happy, healthy citizen again.”
Even though public awareness has increased in recent years, McKay stated there are still plenty of veterans who struggle. “It’s a shame that even in Calgary there are over 300 homeless veterans, and there are homeless veterans everywhere.”
“I’m here to help share how mindfulness has helped me in recovery, and I’m willing to help them.”
Sitting beside McKay was fellow veteran Wayne Federation, a former Captain in the army who served for 22 years. Federation also felt the true value of the sale is engaging the public. “An event like this, people coming though, it lets them know a place like the Veterans’ Food Bank exists.”
Organizers say even a quick stop and a small purchase goes a long way towards providing support. “The money you leave here is going to save a life,” stated Hunter. “It’s going towards bringing another veteran in from out in the cold, and it’s going to tell them we care as a nation.”
“If we can’t look after our soldiers, how can we continue to expect them to look after us?”
The Veterans’ Association Garage sale is located at 416 28th Street N.E. The sale runs from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16.