Poppy taggers were out in full-force on the weekend throughout Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Local veterans and member of the cadets were collecting donations at all of the major shopping plazas including outside the Save On Foods and inside at the Liquor Store at Valley Fair Mall and outside Thrifty’s at Haney Place Mall in Maple Ridge. They were also outside the Real Canadian Superstore at Meadowtown Shopping Centre and outside the Shoppers Drug Mart at Meadow Vale Shopping Centre in Pitt Meadows
“It’s pretty hard to go anywhere now and not see somebody out there with a tray,” said Jim MacDonald, past president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 88 in Maple Ridge.
Last year the campaign raised $2,771,313.28 nationally. In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows there were more than $74,000 in donations, the largest total that Branch 88 has ever achieved in a single campaign.
Donations are also being collected at most of the retail outlets and restaurants in both communities as well as at all the schools.
MacDonald can’t stress enough how vital the money is for veterans that is collected during the poppy campaign.
In addition to supporting Second World War veterans, money also supports veterans from the Korean War, veterans who served in Croatia and Bosnia and veterans who served in Afghanistan.
“Everybody forgets that in Canada, over 55,000 young people served in Afghanistan,” said MacDonald.
“So we are not running short on people who need the assistance,” he continued.
Money from the poppy campaign stays within the local community as much as possible and all of it goes towards veterans.
“Not a dime is used for the legion itself,” said MacDonald.
“It is to support the veterans and their dependents. That could be anywhere from buying them a wheelchair or getting them medical tests that are not covered,” explained MacDonald, adding that they also make very large donations to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation and the Ridge Meadows Hospice Society, “because they both deal with our veterans very heavily.”
Funds are also used for veterans transition programs, research and geriatric support, care and accommodation programs.
All money from the Poppy fund is held in trust and its use has to be specifically approved.
Donations will be collected until Thursday.
Jim MacDonald, with the legion, said poppy sales are good this year, as they were last year, when a record-breaking $74,000 in poppy sales in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows took place.
So far this year, they’ve sold $40,000 worth of poppies.
Remembrance Day is on Friday.
In Maple Ridge
Maple Ridge will remember its veterans this Friday with the parade to the cenotaph in Memorial Peace Park.
Veterans and parade participants will gather at 10 a.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 88 at 12101 – 224th St. and make their way the few short blocks to the park, where the Remembrance Day service will start at 10:30 a.m.
Politicians and others will make speeches and wreaths will be laid and a moment of silence will be observed in memory of Canada’s service men and women who gave their lives in conflict and peacekeeping operations.
Jim MacDonald, with the Royal Canadian Legion, said the Remembrance Day events in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows attract about 6,000 and 3,000 people, respectively.
• In east Maple Ridge, the Whonnock Community Association is presenting a wreath at 10:30 a.m. at the cenotaph.
Coffee and hot chocolate will be served in the Whonnock hall after the ceremony and the moment of silence at 11 a.m.
In Pitt Meadows
Each Nov. 11th, residents of Pitt Meadows gather at the Cenotaph at Spirit Square to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of war.
The ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. in the park, and includes a procession, speeches, and a two-minute observance of silence at 11 a.m. in memory of those who have lost their lives.
The Pitt Meadows ceremony takes place at the Spirit Square Cenotaph at 12007 Harris Road.
‘Tea Dance’ at ACT
In honour of Remembrance Day, Diane Lines will be holding an old-fashioned “Tea Dance” at the ACT.
Guests will be invited to swing and boogie and enjoy music like jump blues, a combination of swing and blues, from the years following the Second World War, predating the explosion of rock ’n’ roll.
Lines was the principle pianist and vocalist for the late Canadian big band leader Dal Richards, known as Vancouver’s ‘King of Swing,’ and she is the assistant musical director and arranger for the Universal Gospel Choir.
Diane Lines’ Jump! takes place at 2 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the ACT Arts Centre at 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge. Tickets are $25 for adults and seniors and $15 for youth.
• For more information, call 604-476-2787 or go to www.theactmapleridge.org.
Poppy fund helps RMHF
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 88 in Maple Ridge has donated $30,000 to the Ridge Meadows Hospital Foundation for lifts at Baillie House.
The money comes from the poppy fund and will be presented on Friday, Nov. 11 during Remembrance Day at the Legion lounge, 1-2 p.m.