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Coquitlam, B.C., Legion struggling to sell poppies during COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video 'Royal Canadian Legion hoping for fundraising help' Royal Canadian Legion hoping for fundraising help
With its poppy campaign and Remembrance Day ceremonies scaled back, The Royal Canadian Legion is hoping people will step up to fill its fundraising void. Linda Aylesworth reports – Nov 6, 2020

The Coquitlam Royal Canadian Legion says they are having issues selling poppies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

President of the Coquitlam Royal Canadian Legion Bob Chapman told Global News that due to the pandemic, some stores in the region have been saying no to poppy boxes.

“Some businesses won’t take a poppy box into their business, some wanted to just put it behind their counter for their staff, and we had one major food chain actually ask our tagger to leave the store,” he said.

A poppy tagger is someone who volunteers to go to a location and hand out poppies.

Read more: Whole Foods will let staff wear poppies after firestorm over ‘disgraceful’ ban

One grocery store in the Burquitlam area told Global News they are not restricting the Legion from selling poppies in their stores, but they are asking the volunteers to collect donations during off-busy times to allow for proper social distancing in the stores.

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“The Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign is one that’s particularly close to our hearts. We have never and would never refuse the sale of poppies on our property,” a spokesperson for the store said.

Click to play video 'Whole Foods bans Canadian employees from wearing poppies' Whole Foods bans Canadian employees from wearing poppies
Whole Foods bans Canadian employees from wearing poppies – Nov 6, 2020

This comes on the heels of grocery chain Whole Foods causing an uproar Friday around their staff being allowed to wear poppies while they are working.

They originally stated it was a “dress code policy” not to allow poppies on uniforms, but intense backlash followed and the company reversed its stance.

“Our new unified dress code policy is intended to create consistency and ensure operational safety across all of our stores. Our intention was never to single out the poppy or to suggest a lack of support for Remembrance Day and the heroes who have bravely served their country,” said the company Friday.

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“We appreciate the thoughtful feedback we have received from our customers. Given the learnings of today, we are welcoming team members to wear the poppy pin in honour of Remembrance Day.”

Read more: Futuristic fundraising for a pandemic poppy campaign

In B.C. Legions are trying to come up with creative ways to sell their poppies as it is a source of revenue for the organizations.

In Coquitlam, they have even set up a drive-by poppy sale in front of the city’s legion building.

Chapman said he understands concerns surrounding COVID-19, but says the volunteers selling poppies to raise money for veterans and their families are told to always wear a mask if able.

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