Why Santa for Veterans

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  • #3035
    Leslie Blair

    One Remembrance Day, eight years ago, I remember watching the parade in my uniform with my family and thinking “why do we only think about our veterans on remembrance day?”. That thought made me so sad. I thought of all the veterans that are in hospitals, veterans that are struggling with their mental health alone, and homeless veterans too. I had just ran a potato project at 12 wing shearwater, where we grew 650 lbs of potatoes for a soup kitchen in Halifax, in an effort to raise awareness on the base about mental health and homelessness amongst our veteran population. The idea for Santa for Veterans was born, and it grew from there.

    The main project is the veterans pairing project, where we pair kind Canadians from across the country with the veterans who are in need or alone over the holidays. They send the veteran a gift. Simple, beautiful, necessary. Making spirits bright at Christmas time is good for the soul, and everyone should get a little piece of the joy.

    Apart from that, we always send care packages/or knit socks to the veteran shelters in the local area.

    We have done many other fun projects: sent backpacks full of necessities to homeless shelters that support veterans, coast to coast; we ran a Christmas dinner one year; last year, we created a amazon wishlist and people bought the ideas on the wishlist, and they were delivered to the veteran hospital.

    The “why” for me is simple, I truly think it is important to make sure that our veterans feel connected and not alienated and alone, especially at Christmas time, which is known to be the hardest time of year for some.


    Erin Melnychuk

    Hi Leslie,

    I think its interesting how easily a WHY flows from community development. I think this is why I love social enterprise development so much. If only businesses could find ways to make the same emotional connection that flows so easily from from nonprofits and charities.

    I don’t think you’re going to have a hard time building a community of care around your idea. So many Canadians have deep gratitude for Veterans and want to know how to do more.

    Excellent story telling around your WHY.

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