Veterans expecting worst year yet in poppy campaign because of pandemic

Veterans expecting worst year yet in poppy campaign because of pandemic
WatchMarking Remembrance Day during this pandemic will be unusual and difficult and just getting a poppy will be too.

They’ve been a tradition since the First World War: poppies.

The little red flowers that flourished around the gravesites of those who died in the First World War are now worn near our hearts in memorial of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Their efforts and their lives gave us the life we have today,” said Al Stuart with the Sooke Legion.

“What we have is a society today is because of those that gave everything,” said Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.

And legions aren’t letting this pandemic stop the power of the poppy even as they face one of their roughest years financially, because of the pandemic.

“It is going to be very very different, in the sense that we won’t have the volume of people supporting like we have in the past,” said Richard Steele, president of the Sooke Legion.

Close to $20 million is donated during the national poppy campaign each year. That money going directly to supporting veterans.

But with many people avoiding busy places, and physical distancing, the Royal Canadian Legions are expecting their worst year.

“Without the finances that come in from the donations, we’ll have to cut back in that and it’ll make a big dent in the community,” said Steele.

Traditional poppy boxes will be set up and accepting coin donations, but they will be in fewer numbers, and with more precautions.

A tap and pay option will be available for those up in Lantzville. Or you can make a donation here on the Royal Canadian Legion website.

This year’s Remembrance Day service will also look a lot different as memorials are scaled back.

“The world’s been changing on us in the last few months, and even when it does change, let us never forget the ones that sacrificed,” said Chief Gordon Planes with the T’Sou-ke First Nation.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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