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Grow Calgary hoping Healthy Heroes program can boost quality of life for area veterans

Grow Calgary is hoping a newly-funded pilot program will give city veterans the skills they need to improve nutrition and quality of life.

The Healthy Heroes pilot project, done in partnership with the Royal Canadian Legion, will provide education and assistance to 10 Calgary-area veterans over a 16-week term.

Patrick Maloney with Grow Calgary, and co-project manager of this initiative, said veterans that take part in the program will get nutrition education, cooking skills and food budgeting.

“The whole idea is to give veterans a framework to work with for feeding themselves and taking care of themselves after their discharge from the machine of being in the military,” Maloney said, noting in their talks with the Royal Canadian Legion, they told Grow Calgary that this need has existed for some time.

The Royal Canadian Legion confirmed to LiveWire Calgary the $20,000 in funding for the pilot. They are working through the logistics of the program prior to the projected February 2019 launch.

Maloney said the goal is to see if this program, which evolved substantially from the initial iteration of a food card provided to veterans, will boost the quality of life for Calgary and area veterans.

“Bottom line is improved quality of life that’s sustainable and independent from intervention,” Maloney said.

Along with the nutrition education and cooking skills developed through community cooking classes, veterans will also be given a $300 monthly budget and shown how to make that money work to provide healthy meals. They’ll also be provided with a basic set of goods to help them prepare the meals.

The Healthy Heroes logo, courtesy of Grow Calgary. 

Once the 16 weeks is done, they’ll follow up with the veterans shortly after to gauge progress. They will also be collecting data on the project’s success to see if it could be rolled out on a larger scale.

“The degree to how much this helps will be interesting to see,” said Maloney.

Any veterans interested in participating in the program can contact Patrick Maloney directly at healthyheroes@growcalgary.ca.