Increased locations, new corporate partners, innovative donation methods
The Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 National Poppy Campaign will begin on October 30th this year, following the tradition of launching it on the last Friday in October.
Several changes will be implemented both in response to the global pandemic, and to continue modernizing the ways in which donors can support the campaign.
“We welcome and thank more than thirty corporate partners this year,” says Dominion President Thomas D. Irvine. “Because of them, Canadians will be able to donate at close to 25,000 locations across the country.”
In most locations, traditional poppy boxes will accept coins and donors will receive poppies as usual. Because of the challenges presented by COVID-19 restrictions, Legion Branches will be discouraged from setting up donation tables or placing volunteers at business entrances and other public locations. However, where feasible and safe, such donation sites may still operate in some parts of the country.
The Legion will also pilot an electronic “Pay Tribute” box that will allow people to donate and receive a poppy with tap and pay technology. The boxes will be found in 250 select locations across the country. More information about this donation method will be released within the next few weeks.
“We want to be at the forefront of new technologies and provide several options for donors, given that fewer people are carrying cash and we remain in the midst of a pandemic,” explains Irvine.
People can also choose to donate through the Legion’s national website. Close to 20 million dollars is donated during the National Poppy Campaign each year, and goes directly into supporting Veterans. This is achieved through critical programs and initiatives pertaining to a range of issues such as homelessness, food insecurity, operational stress injury and the application process for receiving government benefits. Donated funds also support Veteran families and communities, and help promote Remembrance.
This year, the Legion produced a non-medical mask in response to the pandemic, to offer to Veterans and the public. They will remain available during the Remembrance period and can be ordered through poppystore.ca. Some Branches across the country are also selling them locally. Proceeds go to general revenue to support the work of the Legion and its Branches. To date, 40,000 masks have been sold, with more on order. The masks were designed by the Legion, and are made in Canada.
On November 11, the Legion will offer a Facebook Live presentation of the National Remembrance Day ceremony, and the traditional host broadcaster – CBC – will also cover the commemoration.
For the first time, spectators are discouraged from attending in person, due to the limited space and requirement to physically distance. The smaller number of people participating will be required to remain 2 m apart and will need to wear masks unless performing certain duties related to the ceremony. Other anticipated changes to the national ceremony this year were previously released. Similar ceremony changes may be taking place in other Canadian communities, please check with local Legion Branches for regional information.