November 8, 2018 4:11 pm

Legion’s annual poppy campaign a benefit to community, region

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 member Bob Ross, right, offers a poppy to a passer-by at the Mission Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna.

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The Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Beyond The Poppy Campaign is more than just a Remembrance Day campaign. Funds raised from volunteers selling poppies is used throughout the year and to help other organizations.

According to the Legion, the poppy campaign in Kelowna raises approximately $175,000 every year. Other social events also raise money, which the local branch then distributes. For example, Branch 26 consistently donated to the KGH Foundation to advance patient care for the elderly and children. In 2008, Branch 26 completed a two-year pledge of $50,000 for Hospice House.

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And this fall, Branch 26 presented the KGH Foundation with a $100,000 donation for JoeAnna’s House, a home away from home for the families of patients who must travel to KGH for advanced medical care. This includes veterans and their families from B.C.’s Interior. The vast majority of these patients are frail elderly and critically ill children.

“We were very moved when we heard about the need for JoeAnna’s House,” said Jim White, president Legion Branch 26 in Kelowna. “This project represents the values that we hold very dear – that as a community, it is our duty to take care of one another in the darkest times.”

“It is a great honour to receive this gift,” said Chandel Schmidt, KGH Foundation’s director of annual programs.  “Their kindness, generosity and earnest care for this community knows no bounds. This gift will have a huge impact for generations to come.”

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The Legion also hosts other fundraisers, in addition to hosting a busy entertainment calendar for seniors. For many in this stage of life, the Legion has become a social hub – a place to connect with friends, share stories and have fun.

“I felt lost until I found the Legion,” said Legion volunteer Ila Hicklin, whose husband of 40 years passed away two years ago. “But then I started volunteering, and I met my friends and now we just have so many good times together.”

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