Increased awareness of the role of Canada’s military past and present, along with increased volunteer participation, saw the West Shore Poppy Fund surpass expectations for its 2014 campaign.
Faced with a shorter fundraising period of 11 days, compared to 17 last year, and after witnessing a slow start to the campaign, Poppy Fund volunteers were bracing themselves for a major shortfall this year. But some well-timed publicity about the fund’s plight helped facilitate a late flood of donations, enough to allow the total to nearly match that of 2013, said committee chair Norm Scott.
“It came out a lot better than what we anticipated based on the returns to date,” he said. “The biggest difference was the level of support from volunteers. We had a far better turnout than in past.”
As of this week, the 2014 Poppy Fund campaign had brought in more than $78,000, less than $1,000 shy of last year’s total.
Scott pointed out that the October tragedies in Ottawa and Montreal, where two Canadian soldiers were killed in separate incidents two days apart, likely prompted more people to donate to a cause benefitting veterans.
“I always have faith in the community. It’s too bad we have to have a tragedy to remind people of what the poppy means,” he said.
Poppy Fund committee treasurer Ervin Kobialko said the campaign generally receives donations right up until the end of December, so expectations are that the shortfall compared to last year will disappear.
“The community support here is tremendous,” he said, listing local cadet groups, businesses, campaign volunteers and donors on the West Shore as the people who have once again made the fundraiser successful. “They open their arms and their spirit.”
Donations are still being accepted for this year’s campaign. To do so, either drop by the Prince Edward Branch #91 of the Royal Canadian Legion at 761 Station Ave. or call the branch at 250-478-1828 to declare your intentions.
Monies donated to the Poppy Fund help provide emergency assistance, financial aid and other aid to veterans, their widows/widowers and families, and go toward bursaries and poster/literary awards for children of veterans on the West Shore.