Poppies may be the first thing you think of when you think of the Royal Canadian legion, but local members say it’s much more than that.
“In the last few years this branch has raised more than $80,000 in the Poppy Campaign and most of the funds have been given back to the community,” said Saanich Peninsula Branch #37 president Valerie Noyes.
The Peninsula branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year.
Each year the Legion raises funds in the Poppy Campaign and the money is used to help support a variety of community groups. They give back to youth groups such as cadets, scouts, guides, seniors groups, veterans as well as other non-profit charities such as the First Open Heart Society of British Columbia and the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation.
“Volunteering is part of our motto,” said Noyes. “To serve our veterans and to serve the community.”
The Legion also gives out scholarships and bursaries to help students in post secondary education. “We’re very dedicated to our scholarship and bursary program,” she said.
Legion Week is being celebrated the week of June 19 to 26. Branch #37 will be celebrating by hosting a lunch for local veterans and hosting a booth at the Thursday night market where people can go to find out more about the Legion.
“We have downsized somewhat… and we struggle to let people know we are still here and are very, very active in the community,” Noyes said.
The branch has 352 members. “We are a small branch and it is a little difficult to get members out. Many of them are Second World War and Korea vets and they are well into their 80s,” Noyes said.
The Legion also helps support veterans through Legion Manor in Central Saanich, providing assisted living and low cost rental housing.
The Legion, located at 1660 Mills Road in North Saanich, is open to the public on Canada Day with special entertainment planned to celebrate the day.
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