Tornadoes setback Veteran’s Gardening Program

The Women Warriors’ Healing Garden has suffered a setback due to the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Ottawa on Sept. 21.

The federally registered non-profit corporation reported one of their partner organizations, Youth Now farm, lost a heritage barn when twisters touched down in locations throughout eastern Ontario and western Quebec causing severe damage and lengthy power outages.

The Women Warrior Healing Garden organizers were looking forward to housing their chicken coop inside the heritage barn owned by The Youth Now Farm. Unfortunately, the large heritage barn, which stood proudly for over 100 years, collapsed under the force of the gales generated by the tornados.

The Youth Now Farm, which offers local produce and exists for the sole purpose of doing social good for underprivileged youth, is located in Carlsbad Springs, just east of Ottawa.

In a statement on Facebook, Women Warriors’ Healing Garden executive director Erin Kinsey said they were saddened to hear that a large heritage barn had been destroyed, and has since started a Go Fund Me page to raise $2,000 to build a chicken coop on the property.

On Friday the winds reached gusts of up to 265 kilometres per hour, according to Environment Canada. The six tornadoes flattened more than 50 homes in Ontario, mainly in the Dunrobin area. More than 200 buildings were damaged or destroyed in Gatineau, Quebec.

“The barn was to be the new home of our chickens and therapy programs,” stated Kinsey. “No humans or animals were harmed, but this remains a huge setback for our organization. Please keep us all in your thoughts.”

Located on Albion Road in Ottawa, Women Warriors’ Healing Garden supports female veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder and other debilitating life traumas.

The initiative offers a chance for therapy and healing in a peaceful and serene garden environment to female CAF personnel (Regular, Reserve) and Veterans living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), MST (Military Sexual Trauma) and other forms of psychological trauma.

Clients, along with their children, can come together to raise vegetable and fruit crops, chickens, and to care for small animals. It offers peer support, animal-assisted therapy, and art therapy.

Women Warriors’ Healing Garden donates the eggs they collect from their chickens to The Well/La Source, a place where women can gather, connect and support each other.

To donate to the Women Warriors’ Healing Garden click here to visit their Go Fund Me Page. 

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Sean Chase

Sean Chase is a newspaper journalist with 25 years experience. He also serves in the Canadian Armed Forces as a battery sergeant-major at 42nd Field Regiment in Pembroke, Ontario

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