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A different approach to annual Legion poppy donation drive in Langley

CIVID-19 has forced changes
Earle Fraser, Cloverdale Legion poppy chair, seen here distributing poppies in 2019, said the donation drive has to be done differently during the pandemic (Langley Advance Times file)

Poppy donations will be collected differently this year in Langley in order to respect the social distancing required during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You can’t get close,” is how Earle Fraser, poppy chair of the Cloverdale legion branch summed up the situation, and that posed a problem for the annual donation drive that features volunteers and veterans handing out poppies in person.

“These are trying times,” Fraser commented.

But the good news, Fraser added, is that several businesses, including London Drugs, Princess Auto and Starbucks outlets in Langley, will be offering poppies at checkouts, with store cashiers, who work with coronavirus precautions already in place, able to safely collect donations.

“It’s a new way to offer poppies for donation, through point-of-sale,” Fraser enthused.

Fraser praised the businesses for their support, saying the legion was “most grateful”.

There are also plans to have volunteers manning tables with protective transparent plastic barriers at a number of high-traffic locations, Fraser elaborated.

Sales were to begin Friday, Oct. 30.

READ ALSO: Poppy sales begin at Aldergrove legion branch

With the shutdown of the Langley Legion branch, the task of coordinating poppy sales leading up to Remembrance Day was turned over to the two neighbouring Legion branches in Aldergrove and Cloverdale.

Langley Legion Branch 21 ended up in the red after moving from its former home on Eastleigh Crescent to a smaller 56 Avenue location in 2010 .

The Legion had planned to spend between $400,000 and $700,000 on renovations and upgrading to its new property, but it turned out that the building they purchased needed more than $1 million in improvements, more than they’d paid for the property itself.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Langley Remembrance Day poppy sales a ‘challenge

Money raised by poppy donations by BC/Yukon Legion Branches provides over $3.8 million annually in funds donated for Veteran support, community groups, youth, individual emergency funding and hospitals.

More information on Remembrance Day services is at

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Dan Ferguson has worked for a variety of print and broadcast outlets in Canada and the U.S.
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