You’ve likely seen them around this time every year. Friendly faces standing in front of some of your local haunts giving out poppies — to be worn leading up to Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 — in exchange for donations.
On the West Shore, the Royal Canadian Legion Prince Edward Branch 91 aims to have volunteers spread across 12 to 14 different locations for about eight hours a day to collect funds for veterans and their families in need. Donations also go towards community youth groups, such as cadets.
But with the poppy campaign starting around Oct. 26, legion president Norm Scott says there is still a need for volunteers. He said he thinks it’s because the importance of Remembrance Day is not recognized as much as it was before.
“When I was in school the essence of remembrance was a much bigger occasion,” Scott said. “I’ve found kids today don’t learn about that kind of stuff.”
Scott said poppy campaign volunteers typically sign up for two-hour shifts between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. for the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Day. That would mean they need anywhere between 56 and 70 volunteers a day, Scott said.
“It’s unfortunate that we don’t have the veterans of today that are around to support the legion,” Scott said. “And we don’t have the general public in most cases wanting to step up or able to step up.”
Last year, the Legion raised around $83,000 through the campaign but Scott said it would be good to make it to $100,000.
Scott said being able to donate two hours of time for the cause means keeping the tradition and lessons of Remembrance Day alive in communities.
“I believe that Remembrance Day should be a national holiday,” Scott said. “I just believe that remembrance is a part of life.”
Those interested in volunteering with the poppy campaign can contact Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 in Langford at 250-478-1828.