In the lead-up to Remembrance Day (Nov. 11), Royal Canadian Legion branches across the country, including in the Quad Counties, have launched their traditional poppy campaigns.
Donations made for the familiar flowers of remembrance that adorn lapels during this time of year, along with the wreaths placed during Nov. 11 ceremonies, are placed in the respective branches’ poppy trust funds.
As outlined on the Royal Canadian Legion website – www.legion.ca – the funds provide financial assistance and support veterans, including Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP, and their families, who are in need.
During the Arras Branch 59 launch in Antigonish, Oct. 27, poppy campaign chair John P. MacEachern said, along with providing financial assistance, it is a time “to keep memories alive” of all veterans – past and present.
“Join us to remember,” he said at the Main Street branch, where volunteers gathered before setting out to distribute poppies to myriad community locations.
MacEachern reminded everyone to keep an eye out for canvassers in the coming days.
“We are very fortunate,” he said of the volunteer who provide their time in different venues.
Along with legion members, MacEachern noted other community organizations, including volunteer firefighters, Knights of Columbus and Lions, contribute their time to the poppy drive.
“There are so many people who help us,” he said.
That ‘help’ assists the legion in a variety of ways, with MacEachern touching on where the local poppy fund assists.
Along with providing direct support to veterans and veterans’ families, poppy fund monies are used for student scholarships and bursaries, supporting the annual Remembrance Day poster and essay contest and helping fund the Antigonish Care Van.
A refurbishment project for the Columbus Field cenotaph/archway also received support.
“Somewhere front and centre,” MacEachern said of a possible new location for the monument.
The Antigonish branch also supports the 285 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, which received its annual donation during the campaign launch.
Along with these areas, poppy funds may be used for the following:
Grants for food, heating costs, clothing, prescription medication, medical appliances and equipment, essential home repairs and emergency shelter or assistance for veterans and their families in need;
Housing accommodation and care facilities for veterans;
Funding for veteran transition programs that are directly related to the training, education and support needs of veterans and their families;
Comforts for veterans and their surviving spouses who are hospitalized and in need;
Veterans visits, transportation, reading programs and day trips;
Accessibility modifications to assist veterans with disabilities;
Community medical appliances, medical training and medical research, which will assist in the care of veterans in the community;
Support the work of Legion Command and branch service officers across Canada in assisting and representing veterans and donations for relief of disasters declared by federal or provincial governments, which impact veteran in those communities.
As part of the campaign launch, Arras Branch 59 continued its tradition of presenting the first poppies to the Mayor of the Town of Antigonish (Laurie Boucher) and Warden of the Municipality of the Antigonish (Owen McCarron).
“We appreciate all the work that you do,” McCarron said, in reflecting on the day-to-day work of the legion in supporting not only veterans and their families, but also the entire community.
“We know the value of the time and effort that you provide.”