The Royal Canadian Legion and its branches across Canada are hoping for as good a Poppy Campaign as possible this year, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it has brought.
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 members and veterans, along with Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano, Sault MPP Ross Romano and Sault MP Terry Sheehan, gathered at the Cenotaph near the Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse Friday to mark the start of the 2020 Poppy Campaign, which begins today and continues to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.
Legion officials raised a ‘Lest We Forget’ flag alongside the Canadian flag as part of the ceremony.
“We brought in about $95,000 in poppies and wreaths. It was wonderful,” said Wilma Oliver, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 Poppy Campaign chair, speaking to SooToday in reference to the 2019 Poppy Campaign locally.
This year’s campaign is not anticipated to be as successful due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There will be a veteran standing off to the side from the table upon which poppy boxes will be placed (at many stores around town) but there won’t be anybody holding poppy boxes up close (due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions),” Oliver said.
Local army, navy and air cadets will not be on hand to help out with this year’s campaign either, Oliver said.
Funds donated across the country during the National Poppy Campaign support veterans and their families.
All funds raised go toward veterans facing homelessness, food insecurity, operational stress injury and helping them with the application process for receiving government benefits.
Funds donated locally stay local.
As reported earlier, a modified, COVID-conscious Remembrance Day ceremony will be held at the Sault’s Cenotaph Nov. 11.
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 also announced earlier this week it will be holding a ‘We Remember’ Display Challenge for Sault businesses from Oct. 30 to Nov. 11, encouraging local merchants big and small to show their appreciation for veterans with window displays, offering a chance for their displays to be photographed and placed in the Legion’s 2021 calendar and monthly newsletter.