Branch president John Paulin (left) and Poppy Fund co-chair Wayne Tedder display one of the collection boxes. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Branch president John Paulin (left) and Poppy Fund co-chair Wayne Tedder display one of the collection boxes. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Someone stealing Poppy Fund donation boxes in Island community

Comox Legion branch reports seven collection boxes taken this past week

Someone is making off with the white boxes a Vancouver Island Legion branch uses to collect for its Poppy Fund.

Last week, five of the boxes were taken from locations around the community, sometime between Tuesday and Friday. As of Monday, two more had been taken. Locations include Tim Hortons, Quality Foods, the Pharmasave and the recycling depot on Anderton Road.

“They seem to be targeting the higher-volume places,” says Wayne Tedder, co-chair of the Comox Legion Branch #160 Poppy Fund.

He figures the culprits are taking advantage of busy work environments where staff might not notice immediately that collection boxes have gone missing. They do have video of a culprit from one of the locations, and RCMP have also been notified of the incidents.

The legion branch does not know exactly how much money the person or persons responsible took, but they estimate it could be a couple of hundred dollars.

Comox Legion Branch #160 started collecting in late October for the program, placing the familiar white boxes in locations around the community. They have distributed at least 150 boxes throughout Comox.

“All these funds that come through the Poppy Fund go to help veterans,” Tedder says.

The money, explains branch president John Paulin, is important in providing some emergency funding for veterans in need, even if they are not Legion members. All communication is confidential. This might be used to purchase food cards from grocery stores or helps with bills, other expenses, even rent or housing, if a person is in a crisis and cannot wait for funds from a government agency.

“Even in this day and age, there are situations where they get financially distressed,” says Paulin.

The Legion also raises some money for a bursary program and sends a small percentage for Cockrell House in the Victoria area, which provides refuge and services for veterans who are homeless or under-housed. Some funding helps support transitional programming, especially important if a veteran is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In general though, the money from the Poppy Fund stays in the community to help out those veterans most in need. There have even been occasions when the Legion has been contacted by Veterans Affairs to help out veterans with some money to bridge them through a crisis.

“They are very well-received,” Paulin said of the financial donations.

While the Comox Legion has typically lost the odd collection box over the years, Paulin does recall any theft on this scale in recent years.

“This has not happened in my time,” he said.

Tedder concurs, saying, “It’s a pretty rare event.”

The branch hopes they can find the person or persons responsible, but in the meantime, they have taken to checking the collection boxes more frequently to reduce the chance or extent of any further losses.

READ MORE: Woman gets punched in the face, has purse stolen outside Comox Mall

The Comox Valley Record called other local branches to see if there have been any recent thefts from Poppy Fund collection boxes. Cumberland Legion Branch #28 has not reported any issues. Courtenay Legion Branch #17 was not open on Monday.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in fatal Chemainus hit-and-run

Investigation expected to be lengthy and involved

The Cowichan Women Against Violence Society is planning on opening a child and youth advocacy centre. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Child and youth advocacy centre eyed for Cowichan

Cowichan Women Against Violence Society hopes to open centre later this year

CVRD to apply for a grant to improve a 4.85-kilometre section of the Cowichan Valley Trail near Shawnigan Lake. (File photo)
CVRD looks to improve section of Cowichan Valley Trail

District applies for $250,000 grant to widen, upgrade 4.8-kilometre section in Shawnigan Lake

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
UPDATED: Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

Most Read