The Royal Canadian Legion Branch Number 47 kicked off their annual Poppy Campaign on Friday, just in time for the multitudes of people attending in person and performing at the Weyburn Communithon.
Board member Jerry Ponto, who helps manage the Poppy Campaign along with Legion President Brian Glass, said it's an important fundraiser for their branch.
"Of course it is regulated by Dominion Command, but the funds raised here do stay here, and through application processes and whatnot, they're then distributed to veterans," he shared. "And it's not just veterans of world wars, as that we often think of, but there's people that have served in peacekeeping times. We have veterans that that were in Bosnia during peacekeeping times and whatnot. So there's a wide variety of people that benefit from the Poppy Fund."
He said the Poppy Store is open when the Lounge is open, from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays.
"They're available right down in the Lounge, along with a number of other things that are available there in our Poppy Store, just different memorabilia, coffee mugs, things like that, blankets, all kinds of things that people might find interesting, and they're adorned, of course, with the poppy on all of those items. There's quite a few things. We encourage people to just go down and have a look and see what's available. Something might strike your interest."
Ponto said there is no minimum purchase required for a basic poppy, but some of the items do have set prices.
"We just like to see people wearing a poppy and recognizing the service of veterans."
He said when someone pops down to the Lounge to browse the Poppy Store, they can also take a walk through the veterans' photo gallery in the Vimy Room.
"People can take [that] in and maybe learn something new," he suggested.
Membership is not required to support the Legion, he noted, but membership is another way to help out the local branch.
"Just pop into the Legion and have a look around or enjoy a beverage or enjoy one of our feature meals throughout the week," he suggested. "Lots of opportunity to have fun down at the Legion."
Ponto said poppystories.ca allows you to scan your poppy and it will bring up a story of a veteran from the past and a number of different stories.
"So we encourage people to take advantage of that feature, and it's a good historical experience. And some great information on there about those that have served the funds stay in the community."
"You might notice that when you go there is a barrier-free access now at the Weyburn Legion, with an electric door that people can actually press and the door will open automatically for them. So if they come in, whether they're a little bit handicapped or whatever the case may be. That renovation and project was made possible by the Poppy Fund."
"Needless to say, the more people we get into the building, the better, because you don't operate a building of that size with minimal expense, it's always very expensive to keep things going. So we need to be able to offer that to people and we hope people come and enjoy it and take advantage of what we have to offer."
Where do you wear your poppy? Ponto said typically one should wear it just on the upper left area of their coat or shirt.
"I guess you could call it close to the heart. I wear a number of different coats, so I make sure that I have one on absolutely every garment. I'm pretty serious about that. So I do get one on every garment that I wear."
Debbie Kater, Manager at the Weyburn Legion, said they offer tours for schools and groups. In fact, the Weyburn Fifth Scouts will be taking a tour of the Legion on Monday evening.
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