Volunteers needed across Maritimes for annual poppy campaign

Canada's annual poppy campaign begins Friday, but Maritime Royal Canadian Legion branches are having a challenge finding volunteers.

As was the case in 2020, volunteer numbers for the fundraiser have started out slow across the region.

John Stone, acting president of Somme Legion Branch 31 in Dartmouth, says he's still receiving confirmation from local businesses about whether or not campaign volunteers will be allowed inside certain premises.

"Some of the places that we go, I'm only finding out today that we're actually allowed in (with) the poppies," says Stone.

Last year, some businesses and facilities made the decision to pause participation in the poppy campaign citing COVID-19 concerns.

Harold Wright, president of the Jervis Bay Memorial Legion Branch 53 in Saint John, N.B., says volunteers are critical to the campaign's success.

"There are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes before we even start," says Wright. "Getting the trays ready, getting all the poppies ready, bagged, counted."

Both Stone and Wright say the campaign will gladly accept offers to help, with anybody asked to contact their local Legion branch.