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Poppy Campaign: 1 Nov 2017
Poppy Fund kicks off in K-W
The K-W Poppy Fund officially kicked off Oct. 27 with the raising of the flag at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 530, despite ongoing construction on Marsland Drive.
|Stan Howie and Jim Meyer get ready to present the first poppies of the season to Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife, Regional Chair Ken Seiling, Mayor Berry Vrbanovic and Mayor Dave Jaworsky. - Joy Struthers photo |
Jim Meyer, chair, said there was a bit of mix up and volunteers from the Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Units were waiting at a local grocery store for their poppy boxes so they could deliver them to retirement homes.
Meyer was happy to still be able to hand out the first poppies to Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, other city councillors, officials, veterans and attendees.
“It’s important to wear a poppy. That’s why we do the campaign, to promote remembrance,” said Meyer.
They appreciate support for the campaign, and use donations toward caring for veterans, helping local hospitals, supporting cadets as well as giving to local and provincial programs.
“There’s still a lot of cadets in town, we have three squadrons going out for us … it’s a pretty active organization still, which is good,” said Meyer.
He joked that they always say if kids are busy going to meetings and doing activities, they won’t be out on the street or robbing banks. “It’s a very good program,” he said.
Cadets hand out poppies and take donations at different locations and boxes are also available in many stores. The Poppy Fund has a list of stores that are interested and drop the boxes off to them.
“It is a great majority of the stores in K-W. Some simply don’t want them, and that’s fine,” Meyer said.
He said every year one or two boxes go missing.
“We have insurance, so retailers don’t have to worry about leaving a box … but we don’t like people who steal poppy boxes, it’s not polite,” he said. He is glad that missing boxes are not as much of a problem in Kitchener and Waterloo.
One thing that Meyer said people might not realize is that anyone can become a member of their local legion. He explained there are different types of memberships for veterans, family members and affiliates. Everyone is welcome if they are over 18.
“Join your legion and help us out,” he said.
Vice chair Stan Howie said as they are losing their older veterans, the younger ones aren’t joining.
“It’s not like it used to be,” Howie said.
Decreasing membership is an obstacle they face, as well as fewer volunteers pitching in to help out with the Poppy Fund. He hopes that the children they speak to in schools will become interested as they get older.
“We don’t have all the answers right now. We can put out a membership drive, but it doesn’t seem to help,” Howie said.
He explained the legion isn’t just an old boys club where they drink beer all the time, there are many programs and activities.
“Come in and see what’s involved,” said Howie.
by Joy Struthers
by Joy Struthers Waterloo Chronicle/AA
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