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Poppy campaign volunteer shortage threatens support for veterans

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The annual poppy campaign, which directly aids veterans and their families, is facing a decline in volunteer participation each year, as noted by the Barrie Legion.

"We really need our members, especially our members, to come out here, sign the books, get a poppy box, get out there and canvass for us," said Barrie Royal Canadian Legion Vice President Fern Taillefer.

Taillefer said this year, only two dozen people are volunteering out of over 600 legion members, with a goal to raise $150,000.

"I'm a 30-year vet myself. I have issues myself with PTSD with some of the work I did in my career, and I want to help those that struggle even more than I am," said Poppy Campaign Vice Chair Michel Cormir.

Louis Laplante from the Barrie Legion has volunteered for the poppy campaign for over a decade.

"We do it for the community, for the veterans, for Canada, for our past and future," said Laplante.

But it's not just Barrie that is feeling the effect. Legions in Alliston, Orillia and Collingwood say they've been experiencing the same challenges.

"We're not asking you to do a lot, just a couple of hours. And yeah, I spoke to other legion members as well; they're having the same thing, same issues. I don't know what we can do to entice them," said Taillefer.

Volunteers don't have to be members of the legion.

The legion is also asking members of the public to help canvass.

"Remember you're serving your veterans. People who made the ultimate sacrifice," said Taillefer.

The poppy campaign runs until November 11. Anyone wanting to volunteer can sign up at the Barrie Legion.

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