OTTAWA — As Canada is just days away from marking Remembrance Day, the Royal Canadian Legion’s national poppy campaign is well underway.
The organization said in a news release this year’s campaign involves thousands of donation boxes across the country, biodegradable poppies and stories about Canada’s veterans.
“This is a special time for the Legion and for all Canadians,” said Bruce Julian, Dominion President.
“While we remember our fallen Veterans year-round, this is when the whole country is focused on our collective gratitude for their sacrifices.”
Legion officials said traditional poppy boxes will be available for donations and lapel poppy distribution at thousands of locations. There will also be “Pay Tribute” tap-enabled donation boxes in some areas.
Funds collected during the National Poppy Campaign support veterans and their families. Funds donated locally stay local. Close to $20 million is generously donated each year.
Poppy stories: a focus on peacekeepers
The Legion is also presenting the next iteration of “Poppy Stories.”
By visiting PoppyStories.ca, people can scan their lapel poppy with their smartphone, where they will be taken to short personal stories about Canadian veterans who died in service.
“The Poppy Stories initiative helps people build deeper and personal connections with our Veterans,” the Legion said in a news release.
This year, 50 new faces have been added and all of them were peacekeepers, with 2023 marking the 75th anniversary of the first United Nations peacekeeping mission.
Biodegradable poppies and wreaths
The Legion began distributing new biodegradable poppies and wreaths in 2022, and they will be back again this year.
Crafted from natural materials like paper, cotton velvet, plaster, moss and bamboo, they allow the Legion to help reduce its environmental footprint.
“It may still take additional time for residual stock to be depleted, so some branches may still offer a combination of old and new and items,” officials said.
Founded in 1925, the Royal Canadian Legion is a non-profit that serves as Canada’s largest veteran support and community service organization with close to 250,000 members.