The Salmon Arm Legion, responsible for much charitable work in the community, is now appealing to the public for financial support.
Branch President Matt Fowler said operation of the legion relies on money coming in from the canteen at their hall located on Hudson Avenue. However, with the bar and billiards tables at the hall closed in compliance with provincial guidelines around COVID-19 and social distancing, Fowler said an already-challenging financial year has been made worse.
Even with the building closed, bills for rent and utilities keep coming.
“We’re a few grand in the negative already,” Fowler said.
If the closure persists for too long, Fowler explained, the bills could grow beyond a point the legion could recover from.
A GoFundMe page has been started in an effort to get the legion through the financial hardship created by the virus pandemic. The campaign, which can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/salmon-arm-legion, is seeking to raise $5,000 to offset the revenue lost due to the temporary closure of the canteen.
Although the legion brings in revenue from sources including their annual poppy campaign and gaming income, Fowler said these are reserved for charitable purposes. Poppy campaign money has been put to a number of uses that benefit veterans including a $10,000 donation to the hospital. Gaming revenue from the legion has benefited local search and rescue group among others.
Even as they face a difficult future, Fowler said the legion is still working to help both their members and the rest of the community. They are making calls to their senior and veteran members to ensure everyone has what they need despite difficulties created by the COVID-19 virus. Fowler said an effort would be made to find a way to help anyone in the community, whether they are members or not. Those in need can call the legion hall at 250-832-3687.