During the season of remembrance, local Legions are encouraging community members to stay involved throughout the year.
The Royal Canadian Legion in Burford not only provides a place for continuous remembrance for those who served, but it also gives community members a place to gather and connect.
Kathy Pierce, a representative of the Legion and Ladies’ Auxiliary, said that the Legion is more than just a group that puts together annual remembrance events.
“We do our best to support our community all year, especially our local seniors,” she said. “We host a number of events and provide space for everyone to come together and connect with one another.”
Coming up quickly is the annual holiday baked goods and craft sale, being hosted at the Legion on November 19.
“We have been doing this sale for a number of years,” Pierce said. “It’s a great way to get a kickstart on your holiday shopping, while supporting local vendors and the legion. So far we have five vendors including an Epicure representative, homemade holiday wreaths and jewelry. We also have a number of baked goods from our members, anything from fudge to Christmas, tarts and shortbread cookies.”
The day will also feature a lunch from the Ladies’ Auxiliary, with homemade soup and sandwiches for those that choose to attend.
Through events like these bake sales, the group is able to keep the doors open to the legion for the public to use and enjoy.
“The money we raise goes back into the community,” she explained. “We’re not in it for the money, we just want to cover our costs. We really aim to provide support to our community members.”
Through the pandemic, legions across the country struggled to keep their doors open. Now coming out the other side, Pierce explained that it is really important for them to give people a safe place to gather.
“While we want to see community members of all kinds at our events, it is especially important to have them for local seniors who have been shut in for two years,” she said. “They come to all of our events, and are always welcome to sit and catch up with old friends for as long as they like. We are more than happy to give people that space, whether over a meal or a game of cards.”
While the legion draws in a ton of support from older generations, they are also hoping to bring individuals from younger generations into the mix.
“The involvement from younger people at the legion really adds to the community spirit,” Pierce said. “We always encourage people to come to events, but we also love to see new faces out to volunteer alongside us. We recently had some young girls approach the ladies’ auxiliary because they want to learn how to make pies. It’s important for us to embrace these younger generations, there is so much knowledge that can be passed along.”
Pierce said that the relationship between the Ladies’ Auxiliary and the Legion has been instrumental to them both staying operational.
“For the longest time, the Legion was a boys’ club. The ladies’ kind of had to get in through the back door. We are constantly doing things to raise money to support the Legion, and we are lucky to have the relationship that we do. Many groups around us have had to shut down because they couldn’t lean on each other.”
During Poppy season, the groups donate money to local cadet organizations and sponsor veterans for a dinner. They also host their annual interdenominational Remembrance Day service on November 11.
With Friday being a PA Day for schools, Pierce encouraged parents to bring their children to watch the service, noting how important it is to continue to honour Canada’s veterans.