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 Comox

Local branch reports seven collection boxes have been taken this past week

Someone is making off with the white boxes the Comox Legion Branch #160 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 branch’s 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 has had two boxes taken this year.



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

Heating up the kitchen

G.P. Vanier hosting North Island Skills Canada Regional Event

Carlos del Junco and the Blues Mongrels return to Courtenay

Eight-time Maple Blues winner Carlos del Junco and his Blues Mongrels return… Continue reading

Orcas spotted hunting north of Comox

Did you see the orcas in the area on Feb. 20? Ella… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

PHOTOS: Iconic aircraft at 19 Wing Comox entrance undergoes facelift

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Reports of accused human trafficker sighted north of the Comox Valley unsubstantiated

RCMP issue warning about the fears unproven social media reports can generate

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read