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‘CLOSED’: Doors shuttered at Calgary Veteran’s Food Bank months ahead of schedule

WATCH: A handful of groups are coming forward in the wake of an abrupt shutdown of a critical service for veterans. The Calgary Veteran's Food Bank has closed its doors months ahead of schedule, leaving many confused about where to turn. Jill Croteau reports.

Veterans relying on the Calgary Veteran’s Food Bank were being directed to their nearest legion for food and supplies on Friday evening.

A sign reading, “CLOSED GO TO YOUR NEAREST LEGION,” was seen on the door of the 6 Street N.E. location on Friday and Global News has confirmed some staff were laid off last Friday. They’ll be paid up until January.

The food bank wasn’t slated to close its doors until the end of January 2019.

Now, veterans and donors alike are met with locked doors when they visit.

READ MORE: Poppy under pressure: Calgary Poppy Fund letter alleges ‘embarrassing’ misuse of donations

Melanie Mitra, CEO of the Canadian Legacy Project, said she was disappointed to hear the news but wasn’t surprised.

The Legacy Project approached the Calgary Poppy Fund when it was first announced the food bank would be closing with a proposal to take it over. The proposal was accepted at the local board level but denied by Legion Command, Mitra said.

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“Once that decision was made, we were just focused on getting a solution for veterans… what did they need, prefer?” she said. “It was clear from research and feedback that the existence of the food bank was needed. Heavy, heavy demand for the service and an extremely supportive community in Calgary.”

In August, a group of volunteers announced they planned to start up their own veteran’s food bank, to be run by veterans, to fill the void. It wasn’t known Friday how the unexpected closure of the Calgary Veteran’s Food Bank would impact those plans.

Mitra said the sudden and unexpected closure is a shock for veterans, the public and the service providers that stepped up, willing to help.

“At the end of the day, it’s the veterans that are hurt the most by all this,” she said.

“This could have been managed in a way that it could have been a very smooth transition.”

Global News’ requests for comment to Alberta-NWT Legion Command and the Calgary Poppy Fund were not returned on Friday evening.