Poppy campaign supports local health care

Poppy power - Royal Canadian Legion Branch 78 president Diane Kennedy, left, and vice-president and Poppy chair Tom McCaw presented a $3,000 Poppy Fund donation to Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation executive director Penny Rolinski and chair Monica Alyea last April. With the money, a defibrillator was purchased. (Briar Boyce/For The Gazette)

Legion program kicks off today



Those choosing to wear a poppy over the next two weeks aren’t just making a statement of respect for veterans, they’re also helping their community.

Through its annual Poppy Fund campaign, the Royal Canadian Legion supports a multitude of community causes that help veterans and their families in times of need.

The money collected has contributed to grants for basic needs like the food, heat, clothing, accommodation, and medical needs for veterans. It has also supported veterans programs and other community supports like seniors programs or Meals on Wheels that provide aid and offered bursary assistance for children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of veterans.

One of the largest expenditures from the Poppy Fund each year, however, is the support of medical equipment, training, and research. Across Ontario alone, Legion branches and organizations handed out over $1.3 million to health-care facilities and organizations last year.

The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital (PECMH) is among those who have benefitted.

With a $3,000 donation secured through Picton’s Branch 78 last year for a defibrillator, the hospital has received $80,375 over the past 10 years from Legion sources.

Branch 78, Wellington’s Branch 160, Consecon’s Branch 509, Desronto’s Branch 280 and the Ladies Auxiliaries and Provincial Command Charitable Foundation have each contributed.

Hospital foundation chair Monica Alyea says the Legion and supporters of the Poppy Fund have made a difference for health care in their community.

“Our mission is to advance health care to our patients, but it is only through the support of our community that we can help ensure veterans receive the support they need and are treated with the respect they deserve,” she said.

“Over the years, our four local Legion branches have contributed to excellent care at PECMH. We are pleased to know their contributions and those of Provincial Command are not only helping ensure the best care for veterans, but everyone in Prince Edward County.”

The poppy campaign kicks off today with boxes in many local businesses and with Legion members and volunteers active in the community accepting donations. It runs until Remembrance Day.

On Nov. 11, the hospital foundation will have representatives at the three cenotaphs in the county to proudly lay wreaths in appreciation of those who have sacrificed for our country and for freedom.