The BC and Yukon command of the Legion is suggesting money from the Poppy fund should be used to help wildfire victims. Wikimedia image

Legion poppy funds to aid wildfire evacuees

B.C. and Yukon command issues call to local branches

A letter to all B.C. Legion branches from regional headquarters has urged them to direct some of the funds from their annual poppy campaign to help people displaced by wildfires.

In the call to “comrades”, Sandy Reiser, Executive Director of the BC/Yukon Command asked B.C. branches to contribute “whatever Poppy Funds they can afford as a Special Use Expenditure” under Legion regulations.

A branch would have to hold a general membership meeting to approve the move, the letter indicates.

The letter was posted online by Langley Legion Branch No. 21. The BC/Yukon command confirmed the request has been made.

Last year, individual Legion branches across the country donated tens of thousands of dollars in poppy funds to aid Fort McMurray wildfire relief efforts.

The Reiser letter also suggests Legion branches “might consider holding a fundraiser with the explicit goal of helping those displaced by the wildfires.”

The finance committee of the BC/Yukon Command has approved grants of $5,000 each for the Prince George and Kamloops Legion branches in order to aid them in their disaster relief efforts “specifically, the continued provision of food and other necessities” to people being relocated to the two communities” the letter said.

“We do not know how long this state of emergency will last, however, the Legion should be prepared to render assistance for at least several weeks,” Reiser said.

Money raised from the annual Poppy campaign leading up to Remembrance Day by over 1400 Legion branches provides financial assistance and support to veterans, including memebers of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP.

Red Cross campaign

The Red Cross is collecting donations to help those affected by the B.C. fires.

Contributions can be made directly to the organization’s website.

A $100-million provincial government fund to help residents and communities was to be distributed through the Red Cross the same way Alberta handled financial aid to evacuees during the Fort McMurray fire.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is asking people not to make donations directly to evacuation centres “until we can provide further information on what items are required by evacuees and where donations can be dropped off.”

Local efforts

Six volunteers from the Langley Emergency Program were volunteering at the reception centre for evacuees in Williams Lake until the fire became too close and they had to be evacuated themselves, Langley City fire chief Rory Thompson said.

Four Township of Langley firefighters and a chief commanding officer went north to help fight the fire at Williams Lake.

The crew and truck left last week.

A winner wants to share

A Kamloops lotto winner said he will donate a portion of his lotto winnings to wildfire evacuees.

The BC Lottery Corporation announced Jason Labby of Kamloops, who won $500,000 playing the Extra on the July 7, 2017 Lotto Max draw, intends to use a portion of his winnings to help.

Anyone who sees a wildfire can report it by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555.

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