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North Shore Legion going digital for Remembrance Day poppy campaign

Tap-and-go boxes ideal for those not carrying cash
LV Legion Poppies PM web
Keith Willett, first vice-president service officer with the Royal Canadian Legion's Lynn Valley branch 114, proudly mans his poppy box post in Lynn Valley Centre, Nov. 1, 2021.

Remembrance Day ceremonies may look a lot different than usual, but one thing that hasn't changed is the efforts from the North Shore's Royal Canadian Legion branches to ensure Canadians remember with poppies pinned over their hearts and by raising money to help veterans.

2021 is a momentous year in the campaign – the 100th anniversary of the poppy being officially adopted as the symbol of remembrance.

The local legion branches will be distributing educational materials and poppy boxes to schools and about 250 stores and offices on the North Shore.

The familiar poppy “taggers” are also now out, using kettles borrowed from their fellow charitable campaigners in the Salvation Army. But the group is also deploying some new technology in hopes of making donations even easier – especially for those who aren’t carrying as much cash or change as they used to.

Tap-and-go boxes will be posted at the two Mark’s stores on Marine Drive and another will be in the Lions Gate Hospital atrium.

“It’s basically tied into a satellite system, where a person taps it with either credit card or their debit card and they have a choice between $2, $5 and $10 and they take a poppy. It’s kind of new for us,” said Joe Phillips, co-chair of the poppy campaign for the Lynn Valley Branch 114. “So it’s kind of an exciting thing to see.”

Many people associate the poppy with remembrance of the first and second world war, but Phillips said there are veterans from more recent conflicts who benefit from the campaign.

The group funds guide dog training and post-traumatic stress treatment, as well as retraining for civilian careers.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that we raise monies to support our veterans and their programs,” he said.