The Maple Ridge branch of the Royal Canadian Legion is gearing up for the start of the local poppy campaign that will be kicking off this Friday, Oct. 29.
The national campaign was launched on Oct. 25, when the Right Honourable Mary May Simon, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, received the symbolic first poppy of the National Poppy Campaign in a ceremony at Rideau Hall from Bruce Julian, Dominion President of The Royal Canadian Legion. Whit Grant Fraser, Simon’s spouse, also received a poppy from Larry Murray, Grand President of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Sherry Boudreau, poppy chairman for local legion Branch 88, is ready to go. However, she said, she needs at least 25 more volunteers to fill tagging shifts at various store locations across both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
“I’m always looking for volunteers,” she said.
This year both the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows fire departments have volunteered their time as taggers in the community, as well as the 354 Invincible Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.
However, there are still lots of shifts available to be filled.
Taggers are needed at 12 locations from noon-8 p.m. and shifts are available in two hour increments, explained Boudreau.
Sign up sheets are available at the legion in Maple Ridge.
“If they are not a member they can get signed in at the door. They have to show their vaccination passport to get in. Then they can go straight to the poppy table and sing up,” noted Boudreau.
This is the 100th anniversary of the poppy as the symbol of Remembrance Day in Canada and Boudreau is hoping that people will be just as giving this year as last.
Last year the local legion, which is the largest branch in the country, raised $82,000 – four thousand more than the previous year.
“That was the highest volume we ever had,” said Boudreau. “We broke all the records last year.”
“We were just floored how well we did last year,” she added.
The idea for the Remembrance Poppy in Canada was conceived by Madame Anna Guérin of France. She was inspired by John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields. Guérin had originally founded a charity to help rebuild regions of France torn apart by the First World War, and created poppies made of fabric to raise funds.
Later, Guérin presented her concept to France’s allies, including the precursor to The Royal Canadian Legion, The Great War Veterans Association. The idea was considered at a meeting in Port Arthur, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) and was adopted on July 6, 1921.
“We are proud to be the safekeepers of this special symbol, brought to us by a visionary woman,” said Dominion President Thomas D. Irvine, CD. “Every time I see a Poppy I think of our fallen, and I thank them for their sacrifices.”
This year there will also be four poppy point-of-sale boxes in order for donations to be made by tapping either a credit or bank card – Tim Horton’s Restaurant will receive two of these boxes and Starbucks will receive the other two.
Regular puppy donation boxes have been distributed to all the schools in the district in addition to various businesses across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
To sign up for a tagging shift go to legion Branch 88 at 12101 224 St. in Maple Ridge.
“If they are not a member they can get signed in at the door. They have to show their vaccination passport to get in. Then they can go straight to the poppy table and sing up,” explained Boudreau.
During a shift a mask must be worn.
The Royal Canadian Legion is celebrating the 100th year of the poppy by offering a commemorative poppy pin that is a replicate of the original 1921 lapel pin, the release of a video explaining the history of the poppy as Canada’s symbol of remembrance, the creation of a unique commemorative stamp by Canada Past, the creation of a unique commemorative coin by The Royal Canadian Mint, and the special lighting of several Canadian landmarks on July 6, including BC Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre, and the Olympic cauldron.
The Royal Canadian Legion was founded in 1925 and is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization.
Have a story tip? Email: email@example.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.