Royal Canadian Legion branches in the Central Okanagan are feeling the pressure of the pandemic. (Victoria Tronina/Unsplash)

Central Okanagan Legions feel the pandemic pressure

Kelowna and Peachland Legions are doing their best to keep their doors open

COVID-19 has brought many changes to businesses, charities and non-profit organizations, and Royal Canadian Legion branches are trying their best to keep up with those changes, with varying results.

In the Central Okanagan alone, the Kelowna and Peachland branches have dealt with the pandemic as best they can.

President of the Legion’s Peachland branch Jean Saul said they’ve had to be creative and raise funds in ways they never did before.

“The government came out with programs where organizations could apply… we were one of the luck branches that received the CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account). It could’ve gone the other way, where we applied and got rejected so we’re grateful for that,” she said

“That was a huge help. But we’ve had to think of different ways to raise money because it’s just not coming in the normal way. So in July, we had a bottle drive at the Peachland IGA and we had another one on Sept. 12. We’ve also started designing and selling T-shirts.”

READ: Keremeos Legion victim of vulgar graffiti

Saul added she’s grateful that despite the hardship everyone is experiencing, community members have been responsive to them and have helped them any way they can.

The Kelowna branch, on the other hand, tried another way: surviving on their own as much as possible. Branch president John Sokolowski said they wanted to give other organizations a chance to apply for government assistance programs. He added since figures looked manageable in their books, they felt confident they will be able to make it through.

“Our balance sheets have been strong historically, and this year, we’ve not taken any advantage of the government programs they’ve offered, because the balance sheet has been strong so we relied on that,” he said.

“But that said, I don’t know that if COVID lasts another year, whether we can weather the storm. It remains to be seen to what extent the degrees this pandemic has impacted all of us.”

But with traditional ways of fundraising through community events on hold, Sokolowski added the branch is now underwater by $33,000.

Traditionally, Legion branches have also been able to raise money through the Poppy Fund, where community members can buy poppy pins by donation. Sokolowski and Saul said poppy boxes will still be available through their community partners, but as for volunteers and members selling poppies in person, they’re unsure about that.

“The risk is high if we do it in person, so we’re not sure how it will occur and if it will even occur. We still plan to run the various organization placement of the poppies and the fund baskets but in all, we’re hoping to have all of that resolve by early October,” Sokolowski said.

As for Remembrance Day, both branches said they’re on standby and are still trying to plan an event where they can honour veterans’ sacrifice while keeping their communities safe.

READ: United Way Southern Interior child safety program expands

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at
Follow me on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

City Park, Oct. 23. Image: Lynn Morran
Snow forces tunnel closure under W.R. Bennett Bridge

Branches from trees are breaking and falling across City Park

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Smithson Employment Law Corporation donated $10,000 to support Habitat for Humanity Okanagan's Lake Country build. (Habitat for Humanity Okanagan)
Habitat for Humanity Okanagan receives $10,000 donation

Smithson Employment Law Corporation donated to the charity

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

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

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on North Okanagan stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laught with comedian Mike Delamont

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

Most Read