Poppies bloom for Royal Canadian Legion campaign

Donations support charities and services that help veterans and the community

Lew Forth, poppy campaign co-chairman and bar manager at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256, left, and Joann Walton-Hatch, the branch’s service officer, poppy campaign chairwoman and Remembrance Day parade coordinator, will be among Nanaimo’s veterans presenting thousands of poppies for donations throughout the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Campaign which runs Friday, Oct. 25, to Nov. 11. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Poppies are in ‘blossom’ this week as they come off the production line at the Ottawa-based company that creates them for the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual campaign.

About 18,000 of the little red plastic flowers are produced per hour at Trico Evolution to ensure there are enough to go around for the poppy campaign that starts on the last Friday of October and remains the legion’s most important annual fundraiser supporting military veterans and their families.

This year’s campaign starts today, Oct. 25, and runs until Nov. 11.

Beneficiaries of the poppy campaign include former RCMP members, “and now we’re expanding that, possibly going to include first responders, sometime in the next year,” said Lew Forth, Poppy co-chairman and bar manager at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256.

Donations help purchase medical equipment and appliances for community health facilities, pay for medical research and training, to build affordable housing for veterans and senior citizens, fund bursaries for students in need and help provide support services for seniors, such as Meals on Wheels.

“The legion itself also makes money from other events and from our bar profits and stuff, which is non-profit, so everything we make is returned to the community in one form or another – supporting the cadets, the hospitals and the list goes on,” Forth said.

The Royal Canadian Legion evolved from about 15 veterans’ assistance organizations that formed in 1917 during the First World War when wounded Canadian soldiers were returning from Europe.

“The largest of them was called the Great War Veterans’ Association,” Forth said.

The various organizations unified to form the Dominion Veterans Alliance and in 1925 the Legion was founded as the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League, which it remained until 1960 when Queen Elizabeth II granted royal patronage and the organization became known as the Royal Canadian Legion.

RELATED: Digital poppies set to launch as part of Remembrance Day campaign

More than 20 charities and services, such as Nanaimo Hospital Foundation, Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, Nanaimo Lifeline, St. John Ambulance, and Nanaimo 7-10 Club are supported by Nanaimo’s legion branches.

“It has to be local,” said Joann Walton-Hatch, the branch’s service officer, poppy campaign chairwoman and Remembrance Day parade coordinator. “There’s a few deviations, but it has to be local or within the province and a lot of people don’t realize all the [poppy donations] are kept for the poppy fund. It does not help with any of the maintenance or help with the branch. It’s strictly for what it’s set out to do and a lot of people have misconceptions about that.”

The campaign officially ends Nov. 11, but that is a day of remembrance when fundraising and other programs are set aside.

“Mind you, if somebody makes a big contribution on Remembrance Day we’re not going to turn it down,” Walton-Hatch said.

To learn more about the Royal Canadian Legion, the annual Poppy Campaign and Nanaimo’s Legion branches, visit www.legion.ca/.

RELATED: Nanaimo Legion hall to be covered in murals

Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Smudging in B.C. classroom had ‘trivial’ impact on Christian family’s faith, says school district’s lawyer

Lawyers lay out arguments in case regarding indigenous cultural practice in Port Alberni classroom

Nanaimo hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

City of Nanaimo budget talks underway, projected tax increase up to 5.6 per cent

Series of special finance and audit meetings was held Wednesday at conference centre

One person injured in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

One person injured in rollover crash on Nanaimo Parkway

Accident happened a little after noon in southbound lanes near Cedar Road

Beefs & Bouquets, Nov. 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Front Street becomes permanent location for bus exchange

Nanaimo city council will look at safety upgrades, will work with RDN on design

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time for a ban on leaf blowers

Loud noise can cause heart attacks, deafness and mental disorders, says letter writer

Nanaimo’s Kirkwood Academy presents 20th production of ‘The Nutcracker’

More than 150 dancers of all ages to participate in classic Christmas ballet Nov. 22-23

City of Nanaimo to issue alert as it moves to new emergency information system

Municipality will send out reminder Thursday, Nov. 21, asking residents to switch to new system

Most Read