AMHERST – We wear them to honour their sacrifices. But wearing a poppy can do more than just show that we remember the lives that were given for our freedoms, they can also support the veterans in the Amherst area who needs financial assistance. The Amherst Legion holds a poppy campaign every year to do just that.
“The poppies are for the remembrance of the veterans of all the wars and peace keeping missions who laid down their lives for their country,” said Charlie McWhirter, Amherst Legion president. “The money raised from the campaign goes to support their families and their grandsons, children of the veterans’ families who are in need and need assistance. We are here to help them out the best we can.”
There are about 140 locations around the town for people to put in a monetary donation and receive a poppy.
“It all boils down to remembering our fallen,” said McWhirter.
The campaign began back in 1920s. The legion members at the time wanted to start a campaign that would benefit their local veterans.
McWhirter said over the years, he’s had the chance to see how much the donations from the campaign help out former soldiers in the area.
“I’ve seen veterans in need of assistance but they thought it was too much to ask for,” he said. “That’s why we’re here. We work for the vets and their families. Some are really desperate but they have their pride which makes it hard for them to say ‘I need help’.”
McWhirter said the legion has averaged between $12,000 and $17,000 each year.
Legion member Ross Tibbetts said the campaign is needed in the community.
“It’s one of the only (campaigns) that support the branch and our vets,” he said. “I feel good about helping them out because they’ve given us so much. We don’t owe them a lot; we owe them everything.”
The poppy campaign begins on the last Friday of October, just before Remembrance Day, and runs through until Nov. 11.