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Inside Toronto Reports: Guitars for Vets Provides ‘Personal Umbrella’ for Sufferers of PTSD


We thank Inside Toronto for their recent article (click here) regarding the healing powers of the Guitars for Vets program, and particularly Jeff Long, co-founder of music retail chain Long & McQuade, for his ongoing support of the Guitars for Vets program:

Sensing an opportunity to do more, particularly with a rash of suicides among male military members- as many as 68 between 2010 and 2014 — he recalled his own experience with music. Guitars for Vets was established in 2015 as a donation program for wounded veterans, where people with unneeded instruments could drop them off for use in music therapy. But the program proved too successful.

“We thought we’d get maybe one or two guitars, but it just exploded across the country,” said Lowther. 

He and his volunteer groups were receiving 50 offers of donated instruments a day, but with no place to put them.

Enter Jeff Long. 

The co-founder of music retail chain Long & McQuade, Long became aware of an urgent request from Lowther requesting the company’s help in storing the donated guitars. He readily agreed, easing the way for every Long & McQuade location to act as a drop-off site for guitars donated to the program. 

Long said getting involved was a no-brainer for the company which had in the past donated instruments to Guitars for Vets.  

“It was just a logical extension of our charitable outreach,” said Long.

He estimated store locations across Canada have accepted some 500 guitars on behalf of the program.

Since Guitars for Vets was established in 2015, over 800 instruments have been donated or purchased for the program. Musical instructors donate their time to provide lessons, and prominent Canadian musicians will participate in an upcoming benefit concert in Ottawa to raise money to buy 700 guitars for the program.