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Moose Jaw Legion preparing for poppy campaign as annual event reaches 100 years

Local veterans organization hoping to see another successful fundraising campaign with community’s support
Pay Tribute Poppy Box
The new Pay Tribute electronic poppy boxes will make their first appearance in Moose Jaw this year.
It’s become one of the major fundraisers for Royal Canadian Legion organizations all over Canada for the last 100 years, and Moose Jaw Branch 59 is hoping to see much the same when their 2021 poppy campaign kicks off this coming Friday.

Close to 100 of the now-familiar donation boxes with the black-centred red flower pins will be set up in businesses and organizations throughout the community, all with the goal of bringing in funds to support their many programs -- while offering a chance to pay respects to those who serve in our military and honour those who have given their lives for our freedom.

“It’s a way to help look after veterans and their families and help out the community, the hospital and things like that,” said Moose Jaw Branch 59 poppy campaign chairman Barry Young. “It’s very important for us to have the support and we really appreciate it because it helps everybody.”

While the exact number of boxes and where they’ll all be set up is still being finalized, the format will remain the same -- find a box, drop in some change and take a poppy to wear in the lead up to Remembrance Day ceremonies.

There will be a new twist to the project this year, as the Legion has received new Pay Tribute electronic poppy boxes that allow donations simply by tapping with your debit card. Some boxes are a simple $2 donation, while others include $5 and $10 tap points.

“That’s a new wrinkle for us, having the tap-and-go boxes,” Young said. “It’s the first time we’ve had them and they’ll be in high-traffic areas so people can make donations without having to carry cash.”

And if you think those loonies and toonies don’t add up, you might be in for a surprise: between the poppy boxes and other donations during the campaign, the local Legion annually brings in around $50,000.

“it all adds up, and loonies and toonies are great things for us,” Young said. “It just used to be quarters and dollar bills, so that makes a difference.”

All those funds serve a valuable purpose as they go back into Legion programs that support veterans and their spouses as well as the Legion’s charitable ventures.

“We’ve given donations to the hospitals over the years and just do what we can to help the community,” Young said.

For more information on the 100th anniversary of the poppy campaign in Canada and the various unique ways to celebrate -- including a special Poppy of Remembrance pin and the Immortal Poppy digital art sale --  be sure to visit www.legion.ca/remembrance.