Royal Canadian Legion member Bob Ross offers a poppy to a passer-by.

Beyond the poppy campaign

For over forty years, they have occupied street corners and grocery store entry ways, standing in quiet dignity as they offer poppies by donation. Locally and across the nation, members of the Royal Canadian Legion have become a beloved part of the Remembrance Day memorial rituals that allow us to stay connected to the sacrifices made by veterans in exchange for our freedom and independence.

Beyond their annual poppy campaign, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch Kelowna (26) plays a vital role in our community.

Every month the Legion features a busy entertainment calendar for seniors; everything from special lunches and the popular Saturday meat draw, to dances and parties that allow folks to get out and ‘twist’, ‘jive’ and ‘waltz’ to their favourite music. For many in this stage of life, it has become a social hub – a place to connect with friends, share stories and have fun.

On average the poppy campaign in Kelowna raises approximately $175,000 every year. The social events offer further opportunities for the Legion to raise funds. For many years, they have consistently given to the KGH Foundation to advance patient care for the elderly and children. Notably, in 2008, they completed a two year pledge of $50,000 for Hospice House.

However, this fall, the Legion presented the KGH Foundation with their largest gift in history—$100,000 to go specifically towards JoeAnna’s House, a home away from home for the families of patients who must travel to KGH for advanced medical care. This includes veterans and their families from across the interior of BC. The vast majority of these patients are frail elderly and critically ill children.

“We were very moved when we heard about the need for JoeAnna’s House,” says Jim White, President of the RCL Branch 26. “This project represents the values that we hold very dear – that as a community, it is our duty to take care of one another in the darkest times.”

“It is a great honour to receive this gift,” says Chandel Schmidt, Director of Annual Programs at the KGH Foundation. “This gift will have a huge impact for generations to come.”

In gratitude to our veterans for everything they have given us in the past, and continue to give today to support a better future for all. Lest we forget.