Poppy campaign to change during pandemic

The annual poppy campaign will soon get underway  on Prince Edward Island, but with a few changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Poppies will be sold outside and there are now online donation options

Fewer poppy sales will be in person this year, officials say. (Steve Silva/CBC)

The annual poppy campaign will soon get underway on Prince Edward Island, but with a few changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Poppies are traditionally sold by volunteers, many of them seniors, at tables inside businesses such as grocery stories or in shopping malls, from the last Friday of October to Nov. 11. But the transmissibility of COVID-19 means in-person sales may not be safe for volunteers or customers. 

"We'll still have the traditional poppy boxes that will be out," said Duane MacEwen, the president of the P.E.I. Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.

However, COVID-19 restrictions mean donation tables will be fewer.  

"Where it's feasible and safe and the businesses allow us and we follow the public health rules, we may still be able to do that," MacEwen said. "But that will be up to the individual branches and, of course, the businesses."

MacEwen said some businesses have said volunteers can sell poppies outside this year.

Nov. 11 services being worked out

He's hoping Islanders will be as generous as they always have, even with pandemic restrictions. Last year's poppy campaign raised $183,000 on P.E.I. The legion uses the money to help veterans and to support community services and programs.

MacEwen notes donations can also be made online, and there is a new electronic payment option being launched in some locations. 

There are also legion face masks for sale this year that feature a poppy.

As for Remembrance Day services, MacEwen said it looks like they will be quite restricted this year because of the pandemic. The P.E.I. Command has put together a guideline for branches, but he said details for each service are still being worked out.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker


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