Everyone probably knows that The Royal Canadian Legion (Booth 135) is an organisation that supports Canada’s Veterans and honours their sacrifice. It may have been seen hosting Remembrance Day ceremonies or distributing poppies during its annual Poppy Campaign. Perhaps people have heard or read stories about the Legion supporting local Veterans and their families.
What might not be realised is that the Legion does so much more, and once more is learned about it, the population may have a much stronger connection to the Legion than they thought! Yes, a key focus of the work is to honour and support Canada’s Veterans, but it is also a grass-roots organisation with volunteer community-based activities that help build a stronger Canada from coast to coast to coast.
While many Legionnaires are Veterans, its members also include families of Veterans and members of the public with no military connections. Their common goal: to support Veterans and help their community. In fact, with more than 1,400 branches and more than 275,000 members across Canada, the Legion provides one of the largest volunteer bases in the country.
Legionnaires contribute millions of volunteer hours each year. They are probably best known for distributing poppies during the Remembrance period, helping raise money for Veterans and their families and ensuring Canadians “never forget”. Yet behind the scenes, Legionnaires also volunteer in their branches, providing essential programmes and services for Veterans, seniors and families in need, supporting youth education and leadership programmes, hosting branch activities and fundraisers, and more.
Legion branches are the cornerstones of many Canadian towns and communities, providing central places for people to gather and feel connected to their neighbours. In many places, they serve as the primary community centre, hosting weddings, town meetings, community BBQs, memorial services, and other important events and activities.
And in times of local or regional crisis, Legionnaires are there to support those who have been adversely affected by an emergency.
Branches are almost entirely run by volunteers, and Legionnaires are the lifeblood of the organisation.
From service to the country to service to the community, Legion members impact the lives of their fellow citizens, in particular Veterans, seniors and youth. All this good work could not possibly be accomplished without the support of its hardworking and dedicated volunteers.
This National Volunteer Week, the Legion sends a special thank you to its Legion members for their support and dedication. It encourages all Canadians to learn how they can get involved and make a difference too!