Oceanside residents, like their counterparts around the country, are familiar with the red poppies that have come to symbolize remembrance for the nation’s veterans, but not so many of them are aware of what happens to the money that is collected.
Jack MacLean, the poppy chair for the Qualicum Beach Legion, Branch 76, said the money stays in the community and is used, first and foremost, to help local veterans and their families.
“The money goes right back into the community,” he said. “We also pay for bursaries for students and do things like purchase thermal imaging cameras for the fire department.
Legion member Linda Stratton agreed, noting the majority of Legion donations go entirely unheralded, but are important, nonetheless.
“People fight for our country and put their lives on the line and then some of them come back and live right by the poverty line,” she said. “That’s not right.”
She cited an example of a female veteran whose husband died and whose daughter moved in with her with a young daughter of her own.
“The landlord was kicking them out and they were just living of the woman’s pension and they couldn’t afford the moving expenses,” she said. “The Legion’s Poppy Fund paid for the move.”