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

The Downtown Duncan BIA had this 12-foot Christmas bulb assembled in Duncan's City Square as part of its modified Christmas kick-off celebrations this year. (Amanda Vance photo)
Business notes: Downtown Duncan BIA kicking off Christmas differently this year

Find out what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

North Cowichan councillor Christopher Justice wants to see rare habitats protected in the municipality. (File photo)
North Cowichan wants rare ecosystems to be a priority in OCP

But some council members want public input into decision

The Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary is taking a pro-active approach and closing the thrift shop as a precautionary measure as of Saturday. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop closing again as a precautionary measure

Second closure this year will last at least six weeks due to the COVID situation

The Santa’s Workshop fundraiser being put on by Camosun students on Dec. 5, 2020, will benefit Providence Farm. (Submitted)
Camosun students harness spirit holiday season with Providence Farm fundraiser

The next event, coming up on Dec. 5, is a virtual “Day in Santa’s Workshop”

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for former Caps player last seen in September

Geoff Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

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

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

Most Read