A poppy donation box sits mostly empty at Fernie Save-On-Foods on Nov. 2, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin / The Free Press)

A poppy donation box sits mostly empty at Fernie Save-On-Foods on Nov. 2, 2021. (Joshua Fischlin / The Free Press)

Fernie Poppy Campaign expected to go better this year

Last year’s Poppy Campaign was heavily limited due to COVID-19

This year’s Poppy Campaign is expected to do better than last year’s despite limited public events and no public participation from the Fernie Legion Cadets because of the pandemic restrictions.

Beverley Skaalrud, a Silver Cross Mother and the chair for the Poppy Campaign, said the campaign is going “fairly well” this year.

“We’ll expect our poppy coin donations to be a little better than last year, but probably not as good as it would be normally.”

The Poppy Campaign is put on by Legion branches across the nation from the last Friday of October until Remembrance Day on Nov. 11. Donation boxes filled with red poppy pins can be found in businesses to raise money in support of veterans and those connected to veterans in various ways. Funds raised go to local Legion branches, and are then dispersed throughout the communities.

READ MORE: Legion hoping sense of normalcy returns to this year’s poppy campaign

Last year’s campaign was heavily limited due to COVID-19.

This year, donation boxes can be found throughout many businesses. Restaurants, bars, convenience stores, coffee shops, Fernie Auto Parts, Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, Save-On-Foods, and Your Independent Grocer, will have poppy boxes, “to name a few,” Skaalrud said.

“Fernie’s a small little town, but they’re great at heart for their donations.”

However, there will be no public parade or public cenotaph ceremony at the courthouse this year, though there will be a small invite-only service at the cemetery, which they hope to stream on Facebook so people can watch from home.

The bells at the Holy Family Parish will ring throughout the city at 11 a.m. During the two-minute silence, there will be a slow tolling of the bells, Skaalrud said.

The 2757 Fernie Legion Cadets will be absent again this year due to safety concerns amid the ongoing pandemic, though they were deployed in October to help clean up the cemetery in preparation for the ceremony. Skaalrud said they will be missed.

She said that the Legion is always looking to help veterans, but that “sometimes, we just don’t know where they are.”

“If anybody knows of anybody that’s a veteran that needs some assistance, please contact the Legion.”

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