Royal Canadian Legion branches in Cobalt and Mattawa are receiving timely financial support from the federal government to help get through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in fundraising activities being severely restricted.
Branch 44 in Cobalt and Branch 254 in Mattawa will each get $10,845 from the Veterans Organization Emergency Support Fund, as announced today by Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Anthony Rota and Minister of Veterans Affairs & Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay.
The support is part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to protect jobs, provide emergency support, and keep businesses afloat through the pandemic.
“Our Veterans and members have been very worried about the Legion and how we would be paying our bills,’ said Diane Gallupe, representative of Branch 254 in Mattawa as part of a virtual media release. “During COVID, we lost so many engagements that had been booked.
“Our community as a whole have really stepped up and recognized the importance of our premises and we have been receiving donations to help us survive. During this time, we had a huge leak in our roof that we have temporarily repaired but we need to work on it in the spring and we didn't have the money,” she said.
“This funding will certainly help us put a new roof and ceilings in the hall. I have a crew of Veterans and members that are anxiously waiting to start that work. They were so happy to hear of our good fortune.”
Cobalt Mayor George Othmer said the funding will come in handy for the local branch.
“Our building is very old and requires many repairs to keep it efficient. We are looking at replacing the windows, there are a couple of doors that need replacing, and ceiling tiles that have to be changed in the bar area and our karaoke area,” Othmer said.
“Like Mattawa, our roof needs attention. We will also repair our rear entrance to make it more accessible to our patrons who visit the branch, and these funds will also help offset our utility bills. Our executives and members were very pleased to get this good news,” he added.
Minister MacAulay highlighted the importance of Legion branches throughout Canada.
“Right across the country, Legion branches are some of our most important partners in supporting our Veterans and their families. MP Rota and I both know how difficult the past year has been for a lot of organizations – including the branches in Cobalt and Mattawa – so I’m glad we’re able to provide some much-needed funding to help them weather the pandemic.”
Rota said it’s important that the government support the branches at this time.
“Legion Branch 44 in Cobalt and Legion Branch 254 in Mattawa are getting much-needed support. Our Legion members have done so much for all of us. It is important that we are there for them. The past several months have been extremely difficult for many Canadians, Veterans included. Our Legions give support and supply services to our Veterans, and helping these branches continue to operate is but a small part of our recognition of their service.”
Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.
Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca