Aylmer Legion launches GoFundMe page
In response to an unprecedented social and economic crisis, the Aylmer Legion Branch 33 is asking the community for support. According to the Legion’s President Mary Ann Latimer, the Quebec Government’s shut-down of local establishments because of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the organization in a tough spot financially. “In normal circumstances, we wouldn’t ask for the public’s help,” she said.
While the Legion is typically geared towards serving local war veterans, Latimer explained that the organization also focuses on benefitting the community at large. She noted that Legion members have been manufacturing surgical scrubs for health care workers to help them in the fight against the coronavirus. She added that the Legion’s kitchen is currently being used by the Meals on Wheels program to help supply food to people who can’t leave their homes. Latimer explained that the Legion normally raises money by holding fundraising events and by hosting other organizations’ events inside their hall.
“Yes, we have a small bar,” she said. “But that doesn’t carry us. We put on dinners, we put on fundraisers, we put on events that encourage people to come to our Legion and participate to our activities.” But since the temporary closure of their establishment in mid-March, Latimer said the Legion hasn’t been able to raise funds to pay its list of ongoing expenses, including a near $8,000 tax bill to be paid this summer. “We’re shut down completely,” she said. “We don’t have a cent of revenue. We need your help now. We need you to step up and help us.”
The Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command (RCLDC) announced in a press release on April 5, that it was providing $3 million from its national reserves to help branches in difficult circumstances. The funds were initially disbursed to different Provincial and Territorial Legion Commands, who decided which branches should receive funding. It noted that there were more than 1,300 Legion branches in Canada. Latimer said that not every Branch can qualify to receive financial relief from the Quebec Legion Dominion Command.
Fortunately, the Aylmer Legion was able to receive around $2,000, which will help keep the branch running for about another month, Latimer said. “We have to pay for the hydro, the security and things like that,” she said. “Just the basics to keep our doors open.”
With the effects of the pandemic, Latimer said that the country could potentially lose up to 30 per cent of its Legion Branches because of financial deficiencies. “I certainly don’t want to see our Legion be part of that 30 per cent,” she said.
Since the relief will only help in the very short-term, the Legion has turned to the community for help. On March 29, the organization launched a GoFundMe page, which has raised a little more than $2,200 of its $25,000 goal with 30 donors pitching in. Those interested in donating funds to the Legion can do so by going to the following link - https://ca.gofundme.com/f/aidez-la-legion-d039aylmer-help-the-aylmer-legion. Latimer added that the Legion will also accept donations by mail for those who prefer to do it that way.