WINCHESTER — The Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign kicked off yesterday, an occasion impacted by COVID-19 measures (like everything else in 2020) with a small group of dignitaries taking part at Sweet Corner Park.
MP Eric Duncan said he was “honoured to receive the first poppy in Winchester this afternoon for this year’s Poppy Campaign. With our Legion’s revenues down this year, now more than ever, we need to support their efforts to help veterans. Make a donation, wear your poppy, and support our heroes. Lest we forget.”
Organized by Winchester Legion Branch 108, the observance also drew North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser and Councillor Gary Annable. The Sweet Corner clock played Amazing Grace, as it will every day at 11 a.m. throughout the campaign, which annually distributes poppies Oct. 30 through Nov. 11.
Boxes of poppies are now in place at the usual participating businesses.
Last year, the Winchester Branch reports collecting a net $6,745 for the Poppy Trust Fund. Of that, the institution donated $4,260 to Veterans’ Organizations, provided $1000 in bursaries to help area children of Veterans’ families, and helped a local homeless veteran secure housing. Funds are also used for Bursaries and to assist local Veterans.
The Branch is also calling for volunteers to assist with this year’s Poppy Drive: “Regrettably for their health and safety, we cannot involve youth, or our more senior veterans this year, so we are calling on our younger veterans or members of the public to help.”
You do not need to be a member of the Legion to volunteer. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in assisting with this year’s Drive.
At Chesterville Legion Branch 434, President Steve Grubb report that last year’s Poppy campaign raised $1,495.45 — funds that went into prize awards for 39 students at St Mary’s Catholic School, Chesterville Public School and North Dundas District High School as well as bursaries and support for local Veterans. Adds Grubb of the Legion-spearheaded events at local schools: “Last year’s poster and poem/essay competitions had over 150 participants from the local schools and we hope that, in spite of the current restrictions, the schools will support the competitions again this year. There will be no public speaking competitions given the restrictions in the schools.”