Legion president Al Casswell presented a poppy to Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden recently, to launch the 2020 fundraising campaign. (Special to The News)

Legion president Al Casswell presented a poppy to Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden recently, to launch the 2020 fundraising campaign. (Special to The News)

Poppy campaign looks different during pandemic

Fewer volunteers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, expectations lowered

The annual poppy campaign is under way, but the Royal Canadian Legion has lowered its expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s very different this year,” said Judy Ballard, the Royal Canadian Legion’s Branch 88 poppy chair and first vice-president. “It’s very worrisome for me – I worry about my people when they go out.”

“Some of them are 80, and they still want to go out.”

This year the poppy taggers set their trays of poppies and donations on a table, and stand nearby to thank those who take one and leave their offering to support veterans.

READ ALSO: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Cadets typically provide a lot of support, but the young volunteers have been sidelined by the coronavirus outbreak this year.

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue firefighters stepped into the breach, filling in as poppy taggers.

“I was very moved when they approached me to do tagging for us,” said Ballard.

She was also happy that schools stayed involved.

Ballard has not set a financial target for this year’s campaign, but expects it will be well short of the record $80,000 raised last year by Branch 88, or even the $72,000 that has been typical in recent November campaigns.

“Whatever we take in is a blessing.”

Poppies will be for sale at most local grocery stores, department stores, pharmacies, and other high-traffic locations.

There are also poppy face masks, bracelets, and other items available at the legion office, with more merchandise available online at poppystore.ca



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