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Simcoe County Legion branches begin annual Poppy campaign

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Friday marked the start of the official Remembrance Day Poppy campaign.

Millions of Canadians wear poppies yearly to mark all those who've fought for their country.

"It is so important, an event like today because it does get the word out and poppy funds - they're just so important," said Judi Giovanetti, Zone E3 Poppy Chairman. "It helps our veterans, and we have lots of veterans to help with the economy."

The Poppy campaign supports legions, veterans and their families.

"This year, we spent over $100,000 on needy veterans and their families; it's been a very, very busy year," said Fern Tallifer, Poppy campaign chair for the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 147 in Barrie. "Everything from purchasing medical equipment from beds and wheelchairs and walkers to helping them out. We had five homeless veterans living in their cars, so finding them a place to live, first and last months rent."

On Friday, the Legion began the campaign with a ceremony. Silver Cross mother, Carol Collier and her husband attended.

"We do our own poppy collections in Bradford. We go out and canvas, and the community is very supportive," Collier said. "It's a refresher to hear how it's distributed. We don't hear about that, and it's good to know that it's very well used."

The Poppy campaign is the Legion's biggest fundraiser of the year, and the goal for this year is to raise $150,000 locally.

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