The Regina Royal Canadian Legion says it will have less money to contribute to veterans this year after several of its poppy boxes were stolen throughout the city.
“Some were even stolen on Nov. 11 if you can believe it,” said Ron Hitchcock, president of the local branch.
Theft of poppy boxes was never a problem until last year, Hitchcock said. In 2018, six boxes were stolen compared to the 10 taken this year.
“This year we decided to tape the money boxes to the trays, and that slowed them down a bit, but they still rip them off and run,” Hitchcock said. “It’s money not going where it should be going: to veterans.”
Each poppy box brings in around $200 to $400 toward the Poppy Trust Fund, according to Hitchcock.
“The money goes directly to different programs to help veterans, whether it be homeless veterans or someone in need of psychological help or a service dog,” Hitchcock said.
The legion is now relying on online donations to hopefully recoup the loss.
“My thinking is that desperate people do desperate things. So they should seek help elsewhere rather than stealing from the people that provided them with the freedom that they enjoy,” Hitchcock said.
Although the boxes have not been found, the legion remains hopeful the money will be returned.
“I hope they turn the money in because it goes a long way in saving someone’s life,” Hitchcock said. “I personally have had a friend who committed suicide and there’s been far too many of those.”