Orangeville Legion kicks off Poppy Campaign with flag raising

November 3, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

A symbol of respect for the armed forces community, remembrance and a hope for a peaceful future, the poppy, is being given out now until Nov. 11.

The annual Poppy Campaign, held by Legion’s across Canada, started last Friday (Oct. 27) and organizers say upwards of 30,000 poppies will be available at a variety of locations throughout Orangeville.

The campaign is the Legion’s largest fundraiser of the year, with all of the money donated going towards support for veterans and their families.

“It’s helped get veterans off the streets, during the pandemic,” noted Barry Kimber, Orangeville Legion Br. 233 president. “It’s there to basically lend any assistance that our veterans need. It also provides bursaries to children that are going off to university and continuing their education.”

The funds are also used to provide service dogs to veterans, to assist them with injuries or mental health challenges.

“That’s been a very important part of our branch and the Legion, to provide these dogs, because I have personally witnessed how much it changes a veteran when he’s dealing with difficulties, when he has one of these dogs beside him to help them,” Kimber noted.

Legion members will be canvassing at the local Canadian Tire, Walmart, Zehrs, Sobeys, Home Hardware, Freshco, No Frills, both LCBOS, and Beer Store. There is also nearly 175 countertop boxes set up at businesses around town.

A flag raising in front of Orangeville Town Hall and proclamation read by outgoing Mayor Sandy Brown marked the start of the Poppy Campaign on Oct. 27, with Legion members, councillors, and Mayor-elect Lisa Post in attendance.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we continue to support our veterans in any way that we can, particularly through the Poppy Campaign,” said Post following the flag raising. “I have a son in the military, I’ve got a daughter in cadets and being able to support the Legion in any capacity that the municipality can is really important, working with them to honour their fallen, but also to remember,” said Mayor-elect Lisa Post.

Last year the Poppy Campaign raised just over $49,000. In addition to helping veterans get off the streets, assisting in financial emergencies, and connecting them with service dogs, the funds are used to support the local hospital, cadet squadrons, and bursaries for children or grandchildren of veterans attending post-secondary school.

First vice president of the Orangeville Legion and poppy campaign chairman, Chuck Simpson said he quickly filled a donation box while canvassing at Walmart before coming to the flag raising and is always amazed by the community’s support.

“People are generous as always, not only in Orangeville, but in Dufferin-Caledon and all over. It starts out with nickels and dimes, and quarters and next thing you know their donating 20s and 10s,” Simpson said. “The generosity always surprises me and we’re so thankful.”

He stressed that the Legion doesn’t sell poppies, they accept donations, and if anybody doesn’t have any money on them but would like a poppy, they’re happy to hand them out.

“Whatever you want to give us is much appreciated and all we want you to do is to wear a poppy and remember,” said Kimber. “That’s the most important thing.”

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