Poppy campaign kicks off on P.E.I.
Island Legions hoping to keep theft at a minimum this year
With some legions across Canada making the switch to collection boxes that are harder to steal, those on P.E.I. are sticking to the old ones, and hoping for a profitable poppy campaign.
Poppy Chairperson Lorraine Doucette, with the Charlottetown Legion, says it's hard to spend money on more modern, theft deterrent boxes, when money raised through the annual poppy campaign, which kicks off today, is desperately needed by local veterans.
"You've got to think about the veterans that may run into needing some help, and that is what the money is for," she said.
Modern collection boxes more expensive
The problem of theft has plagued the Legion's poppy campaign for years. Organizers on P.E.I. say they'd like to make it harder for would-be thieves to steal poppy money, by purchasing studier collection boxes through the Legion's suppliers, but the added cost per box is hard to justify.
"I think the people that are sitting there collecting donations, too, would prefer something like that," said Doucette. "And maybe down the road it might come to that, but this year we opted not to."
She said last year, only three or four cans were stolen from the Charlottetown area, which is good compared to other provinces. But Legion members and volunteers remain stumped as to how, or why, anyone would want to take money away from veterans.
"It's just frustrating, when you're in here doing this for a good cause," said Doucette.
Summerside Legion ditching 'the blitz'
According to members of the Summerside Legion, a decision to abandon the door to door poppy blitz last year, due to a lack of volunteers willing to do the work, turned out to be a good one.
"Last year we were about $1000 above what we had the year before when we did the blitz," said Roy Crozier, Chairman of the legion's wreath and poppy campaign. "And that only covered less than 50 per cent of the city, so it wasn't what it was cracked up to be."
Crozier said as a result, the poppy blitz won't be making a comeback in Summerside.
He said people spend more time out of the house in the evenings, and are less comfortable with door to door fundraising than they used to be. But he's confident donors and supporters will continue to contribute to the poppy campaign, when they see veterans and volunteers set up at the mall and in local grocery stores.
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Overprotecting children can affect life skills, says Dalhousie University prof
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Q&A: P.E.I.'s Diane Griffin on her Senate recommendation