Appeal turns 100
Shepparton RSL Club members and volunteers gathered at the branch clubrooms this week to mark next week’s launch of the annual Poppy Appeal, which this year celebrates its centenary.
Shepparton RSL Club vicepresident and local Poppy Appeal co-ordinator Bruce Davis said this year’s campaign was more important than ever after the past 20 months of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions.
“It’s been a tough time for charities, and donations were hit last year. We really want to do the best we can this year,” Mr Davis said.
He said a team of about 40 volunteers would be out and about from Sunday, October 24, to November 11 selling poppies and badges at outlets across Shepparton including shops, hotels, cafe´s, schools and businesses.
Mr Davis said people were generous during this year’s Anzac Day appeal, which raised $65,000 in the Shepparton district.
“I think the public sympathised with us when marches were called off because of COVID, and the appeal became a way for people to pay their respects through a donation,” Mr Davis said.
He said donations were vital in helping the veteran community and their families struggling with financial difficulties, emergency accommodation, re-training for employment or for children’s school education.
“The money is very well used,” Mr Davis said.
He said anyone could volunteer, provided they were double vaccinated.
RSL Victoria appeals manager Peter Smith said last year’s appeal was several million dollars down from its usual collection figure of between $3.9 million and $4 million.
“It’s been a tough year,” he said. Mr Smith praised Shepparton’s volunteers and the co-ordination of Mr Davis and his wife, Sandy.
“Shepparton is such a fabulous RSL branch — well organised and vibrant. And Bruce and Sandy are super-committed and do a great job,” he said.
● To volunteer or donate, go to www.poppyappeal.com.au