Three quarters of The Royal Canadian Legion’s 1380 Branches have now received close to three quarters of the support dollars available through a federal aid package. The Veterans Organization Emergency Support Fund (VOESF) announced last November provided a total of $14 million in assistance for Legion Branches in need of help.
“I’m elated to see this next phase of funding heading out the door,” says Thomas D. Irvine, Dominion President. “I’m happy our team was able to work hard at all levels to expedite this financial help, and we once again thank Veterans Affairs Canada for this much needed assistance.”
Branches receiving help during this second phase will have their funds by Monday, March 1. In this round, $2.79 million is being distributed by the Legion’s National Headquarters to 282 Branches who applied for financial help. A total of 983 Branches have now received over $10.2 million in aid.
Many Legion Branches have been crushed financially due to the pandemic, left with fewer ways to raise operational dollars that must come from fundraising, not from their Poppy Funds. Poppy Fund dollars donated each November are used only for specific programs and services to benefit Veterans, their families, and communities.
Branches have been using the support funds to make up for lost revenues and to cover things like building insurance and utilities.
To distribute funds equitably, the Legion used a process whereby not all Branches received the full assistance they requested. In the next and final phase, the Legion’s National Headquarters will work with each Provincial Command to determine which Branches are most in need of additional help. Those Branches will automatically receive some of the remaining funds in April, and will not need to reapply.
“While there is still a challenging road ahead, many of our Branches now have a lot more breathing room, and some have been saved from closure,” says Irvine. “We are pleased and grateful for this outcome.”