November is only a few days away, which means the return of the poppy campaign honouring our armed forces veterans.
On Thursday morning in Kelowna, B.C., veterans, the public and members of the legion gathered to put on their poppies for the first time this year, marking the start of the 2022 fundraising campaign.
“The people in Kelowna that donate so much all the time to the poppy campaign get it back to help their hospitals, hospice, homes, veterans or families, bursaries. It’s very important to us,” said Darlene McCaffery, Kelowna Legion president.
The Kelowna Legion has over 700 members and they have received a generous amount of support from community members, raising over $850,000 in recent years.
“They’re the biggest supporters of poppy funds in B.C, they support with more dollars than a lot of the legions who pull together in Vancouver,” said McCaffery.
This year’s ceremonies will also be the first without pandemic restrictions.
“It is in full force. We’re still really short of poppy volunteers, but certainly, it’s a lot easier when you don’t have to deal with all the extra COVID things as well so it makes it a little bit easier,” said Terry Kerr, head of the poppy campaign at the Kelowna Legion.
Kerr says she does her best to take part in the efforts each year because of her family.
“My father was a veteran so for me personally I come because of him. For all the years he served and my uncle,” Kerr said.
Read more: Kelowna RCMP investigating Remembrance Day disruption ‘from criminal perspective’ (November 2021)
The legion says even though people may think of world war veterans when they think of the poppy, the fundraising supports other veterans as well.
“Our younger veterans — and I’m saying younger, 60 and under, probably — that have been all over the world fighting and peacekeeping and going into situations that are just terrible, we want to help them keep going and get them back into society,” said McCaffery.
As this is the first Remembrance Day without restrictions, the legion is looking forward to having its usual cenotaph ceremonies.