New poppy campaign initiatives seek to modernize the tradition of remembrance
A shift towards environmentally friendly materials and new digital engagement strategies are among new initiatives the Royal Canadian Legion is hoping will breathe fresh life into the 2022 national poppy campaign.
The annual push to honour fallen soldiers officially launched on Friday and is set to run until Remembrance Day, and organizers say they’re hopeful the features introduced this year will help re-engage Canadians in the act of paying tribute to veterans both past and present.
The Legion has scaled back the number of traditional poppy boxes at locations across the country where people can donate cash and receive a poppy pin, rolling out just over 27,000 compared to around 34,000 in 2021. But the new campaign will feature the introduction of biodegradable poppies and wreaths made of natural materials such as paper, moss and bamboo.
It will also include “Poppy Stories,” an initiative allowing people to scan a lapel poppy with their smartphone and be presented with information about real Canadian veterans, including anecdotes about their lives, their roles within the military, where they served and what their passions were.
“The various initiatives are a way to engage more Canadians from across generations, to engage younger people in the act of remembrance,” said Nujma Bond, communications manager for the legion’s national headquarters.
“We hope that when we modernize how we remember, and the materials we use to remember, it will also carry on the tradition of remembrance in Canada.”
For the third year in a row, the organization will also have boxes that can accept payments from tap-enabled devices or cards. The legion said 1,000 such boxes will be in place this year, the same number as in 2021 when large swaths of the country were still operating under public health restrictions intended to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canadians can also make a donation towards the campaign at mypoppy.ca, where they can create a digital poppy, add a customized commemoration to a veteran and share it on social media.
While there are still regional restrictions in place that will need to be heeded, fewer public health measures means more volunteers will be physically present at poppy boxes to engage with those passing by and encourage donations.
“It is a chance to share more stories, for people to meet veterans, to have positive conversations, to learn a little bit more about those who have served us,” said Bond.
This year’s supply of poppies will consist of both the traditional and environmentally friendly versions, the Legion said, noting it hopes to deplete old stock before switching exclusively to sustainable materials for future campaigns.
The organization doesn’t have final figures for the amount raised from last year’s campaign, but Bond said the legion typically raises close to $20 million from its poppy campaign on any given year to support veterans, their families and communities.
Brent Craig, veterans’ service officer for the Legion’s Westboro branch in west Ottawa, said those funds go directly into a range of programs that help veterans with a host of needs, including assisting with paperwork when applying for benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada or peer support programs.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of veterans who help out with the poppy campaign and also come up to the box, and they’ve all been very appreciative of the fact that the poppy campaign exists,” said Craig, whose father served in the Air Force and grandfather served in Europe during the Second World War.
Ronn Anderson, 78, served for more than 38 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, with stints in Europe as an artilleryman and as part of the Air Force. This is his 22nd year running the poppy campaign for the legion’s St. James branch in Winnipeg, and he said he hopes to see spikes in volunteer numbers, public engagement and donation totals by the end of the campaign compared to the last two years.
He said the return of traditional poppy boxes is particularly welcome among veterans, adding he and his fellow former soldiers have more meaningful interactions with the public and receive more thanks for their service when they don their uniforms and volunteer for the campaign.
“That means a lot to me to be able to support these veterans that need our help,” said Anderson. “Nobody likes to be in need, but through necessity, through circumstances, people do become in need and we’re happy to help out our veterans with our poppy monies that we’ve earned.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Tyler Griffin, The Canadian Press
Youth HQ Acquires Professional Building – Establishing the Centre For Social Impact
Youth HQ is pleased to announce that the Professional Building located at 4808 50th Street downtown will soon become the Centre for Social Impact. Supporters of the building share in the vision of providing charities and non-profit organizations access to a centrally located unique building that offers affordable office, program, and meeting space. The building has had substantial upgrades and enhancements that will serve tenants well into the future.
Red Deer has long identified a need for a unique building dedicated exclusively to charitable activities. An inspiring place where charities and non-profit organizations collaborate. “Charities and non-profits are often subject to locations throughout the city based on affordability. With continuing rising operational and facility costs such as rent, utilities, and available space, charities and non-profits face challenges. The Centre for Social Impact will respond to these challenges so organizations can focus on what they do best –create impact in our community.” states Rob Lewis, Executive Director, YouthHQ.
The property was donated by Maclab Properties Group, a private real estate group founded in Edmonton in the 1950’s. Maclab has a long history of strong support for the non-profit community across Alberta and was excited to contribute to this project. Youth HQ took possession of the building March 6, 2023. Tenants can look forward to affordable office space, shared meeting space and common areas, available reserved parking, affordable IT support on site, and exceptional ongoing building maintenance.
Interested tenants are encouraged to contact Rob Lewis, Youth HQ for more information.
Youth HQ is also looking for a donor who shares in this vision of creating a place that will benefit the community for years to come. This donor (individual or corporate) would have title name to the building – ___________________ Centre for Social Impact.
This is an exciting time for charities and non-profit organizations in Red Deer. The need for a location dedicated to social impact is finally a reality. Thank you to all our supporters for sharing in our vision and making the Centre for Social Impact a reality that will benefit Red Deer well into the future.
Red Deer has long identified a need for a unique building dedicated exclusively to charitable activities and maximizing social impact. The proposed Centre for Social Impact (CSI) would be an inspiring place where charities and non-profit organizations can collaborate; a place centrally located where families can readily access a variety of supports and services; a place where organizations can share resources and minimize rising operating costs; and a place with in-house maintenance and operational supports.
Charities and non-profits are facing numerous challenges that threaten their ability to fulfill their respective missions. Rising operational costs (rent, utilities, service supports, insurance, etc.) directly influence the impact of the public donated dollar. Combining these rising costs with an increased demand for services limits the capacity for these organizations to respond to those needs. The ever-increasing competition for a declining public dollar has never been greater than it is today. The post-pandemic reality for charities and non-profits that were able to weather the storm the past three years, combined with the present economy, has compounded these challenges. The need for a building dedicated to social impact has never been greater.
Youth HQ has recently acquired a building that will not only benefit the services within Youth HQ but will also directly benefit many charities and non-profits in Red Deer and Central Alberta. The Professional Building, located on Ross Street, will become the Centre for Social Impact for the purpose of supporting charities and non-profits.
The property was donated by Maclab Properties Group, a private real estate group founded in Edmonton in the 1950’s. Maclab has a long history of strong support for the non-profit community across Alberta and was excited to contribute to this project.
ABOUT YOUTH HQ
Youth HQ has been serving Red Deer and Central Alberta since 1976. Youth HQ is the administrative structure that presently oversees Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District, BGC (Boys and Girls Club) of Red Deer & District, the 49th Street Youth Emergency Shelter, and Camp Alexo. This organizational structure with one Board of Directors, one Executive Director, and one administrative team supports all the entities described. Consequently, the publicly donated dollar goes much further in directly impacting the children and families we serve. Youth HQ was the first organization in Canada to bring two nationally affiliated charities under one roof.
Several similar organizations across Canada (particularly in Alberta) have since established similar operational structures. Youth HQ supports more than 2,200 children and families annually.
Youth HQ has a well-established track record of success and has proven its ability to embrace ambitious ventures for the purpose of enhancing social impact. Examples include the tremendous expansions of BGC programs and services into 13 surrounding locations within Central Alberta and the 3-million-dollar Camp Alexo Facility Master Plan that now serves numerous groups and organizations throughout the year.
Our agency tagline with BGC is “Opportunity Changes Everything”. This incredible opportunity will create positive change not only for Youth HQ but also for many charities and non-profits in Red Deer and Central Alberta.
IMPACT TO CHARITIES AND NON-PROFITS
• Centrally located with easy transportation access
• Readily accessible to numerous services and supports under one roof
• Low and affordable sq ft rental rates
• Small office space or large office spaces available
• Meeting rooms readily available
• Large workshop/training or meeting space in lower level
• Low cost on-site IT tech support
• Ample parking in the downtown core
• Building maintenance and security
• A building that has significant improvements and upgrades
• Shared common areas.
• Opportunities for organizations to collaborate readily as needed.
• Less dollars dedicated to operational expenses.
• More dollars dedicated to programs and direct services.
CLIENT IMPACT EXAMPLE
A Single parent mother with 3 children visits the Centre for Social Impact for services and supports. After receiving some counselling and being connected to a support group she discovers that there are other services which can offer support for her children. The 8-year-old girl is matched to a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Her two boys are put on a waiting list for a mentor, but are connected to BGC, and become registered in the community-based after school program in Fairview. The impact of this story is that the mother was able to walk into one door and get connected to four organizations offering supports for herself and her children. Agencies will also be able to collaborate more effectively with one another in support of the families and community we all serve.
Recovering addicts from Red Deer Dream Centre brewing up a very unique fundraiser
From the facebook page of the Red Deer Dream Centre addictions treatment facility.
Red Deer’s newest #socialenterprise straight from the #rddc, #dcbrew! Amazing coffee all the while, Helping support men in recovery, one bean at a time.
Order yours today at https://www.rddc.ca/donate/dc-brew-coffee/. #recoveryispossible
The Red Deer Dream Centre is a 40-bed addictions treatment facility where, in an atmosphere of hope and love, people can find life, restore their dignity, and find purpose in living a life in freedom from addictions.
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