'She Shed' project raises money to support Calgary veterans during pandemic

WATCH: Now that gardening season is in full swing, you might be spending quite a bit of time out in your backyard shed. As Gil Tucker shows us, some Calgarians are hard at work on a special shed that will help plant the seeds for health and healing.

Volunteers who are old hands at putting a place together were busy with a completely new project Monday at the Veterans Association Food Bank in northeast Calgary.

“We are building a She Shed,” military veteran Wayne La Pointe said.

While it may be an unfamiliar term that sounds a bit like part of tongue twister, a She Shed is actually a twist on a familiar concept.

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“Basically, I guess it’s the equivalent of a man cave,” veteran Michael Larabie said.

“It’s a place where they can escape from day-to-day life, have a break,” the VAFB’s Alyssa Harrington said. “It could be an art studio, yoga studio, you could just go out there and have a glass of wine.”

After three weeks of construction work, the She Shed is coming together nicely.

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“It’s wired for lights and plug-ins,” La Pointe said. “(It’s got) skylights and all the windows open.”

The structure is designed for year-round comfort.

“We have a little mini fireplace,” Larabie said. “It’s almost like a mini home.”

The VAFB is building the She Shed to raffle off to raise money, which is now badly needed as COVID-19 restrictions shut down so many of the organization’s fundraising efforts.

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“We can’t do food drives that much anymore, and it’s really hard to keep stocked up for doing hampers,” La Pointe said. “We’ve got to raise money somehow.”

The VAFB is also in need of money to cover the costs of its support programs for veterans.

“These programs are very important, because there are many, many veterans in Calgary dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues,” Harrington said.

“My husband is a combat veteran and he deals with severe PTSD. It affects you, it affects your children. It’s a very challenging thing to deal with day-by-day.”

More information on the She Shed raffle is available here.

Harrington has bought five raffle tickets, now keeping her fingers crossed that one of them is the lucky one.

“To have a little place where you could just run and hide away at the end of the day, relax, read a book, do some yoga, that would be really awesome.”

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