Relief funds are on their way to Legion branches across B.C. as the provincial government has pledged $1.5 million to the non-profit organization, which will pair with a federal grant that was given at the end of 2020.
In the Okanagan, Legion branches say it will help them immensely.
“Any funding we get from the provincial or federal government is pretty much a godsend so we can keep afloat,” said John Cashin, Kelowna Legion Branch 26’s president.
“We are thankful for both governments. If we get the $10,000 from the province, that would mean we got $24,000 from both governments and that will keep our doors open for another six months.”
B.C. and Yukon Legion branches will split the provincial relief money, with some legions receiving $4,000 and others receiving $10,000.
The Westbank Legion Branch 288 said it’s money that they’ve long been waiting for.
“It was about time. We already got $14 million from the federal government, so it was good to see the B.C. government step up and help us through,” said Anne Fox, Westbank Legion Branch’s president.
“Everyone else was getting money around us, the restaurants and hotels. We weren’t getting anything.”
The B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation was unavailable for an interview but did supply a statement.
“Legions play an important role in our communities, caring for the people who have served our nation,” wrote Ravi Kahlon in an email.
“Our government (is) committed to finding a solution, and we’re delivering support to ensure legions can keep serving veterans, their families and our communities.”
The Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command has 145 branches with 47,000 members.
The non-profit provides support for veterans and their families.