Poppy mask fundraiser helps inject some money into local Legions

·3 min read

Wendy Burton was approached by Coun. Jeff Bumstead a few weeks ago, asking if she would be willing to sew some poppy print masks to be sold as a fundraiser for local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Burton, who had been sewing scrub hats and masks since March, said at first she wasn't so sure if she could put in the time and effort.

"I didn't know how much work it would take and how many he required," said the Victoria Harbour resident.

But the more Burton thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea.

"I thought the legions are hurting," she said, adding there was a personal angle to the decision as well. "My dad was involved with the legions and he was a Second World War veteran. I have also been involved with the legions in the past, so I thought it was a good cause."

With that, Burton set about securing a poppy print cloth, for which Bumstead pitched in. He also offered to sell the masks she was making.

"She agreed that if the material costs were covered and a small donation for her time, she was agreeable to provide the masks to be sold in support of the legions," said Bumstead.

So, Burton made 48 masks for the first batch. "Once I received the masks from Wendy, I posted on Facebook late on a Friday night to start spreading the word," said Bumstead. "By Saturday morning at about 11 a.m. I had received messages and comments from people wanting to buy the 48 masks and about another 80 more."

For the second batch, Burton said, she bought three metres of cloth, double the amount of the first batch.

"I ended up making 90 masks for the second batch," she said. "That was about 26 hours of work."

All masks were sold out within hours of being posted on Facebook.

Bumstead said buyers were given the choice of legion branch they would like to support.

The running total on Friday, he said, indicated that about $900 had been collected for Branch 523 in Victoria Harbour, $150 for Branch 545 in Port McNicoll and $180 for Branch 316 in Waubaushene.

"With Legions being closed and only opening partially recently while not being able to host public or larger gathering events, I thought it would be good way to help raise a little bit of money for them," said Bumstead.

Burton said seeing the strong response to the masks made her feel good about being able to help out the local Legions.

"I don't want to be a hero because I did that," she said. "I just like to be kind. I grew up with a mother who always taught me that. I'm a giver and I like to help out when I can. I hope the money helps them out, because I know they're hurting."

Bumstead said the final amounts will be delivered to all branches on Nov. 7.

"The response was excellent and sold way more and raised a lot more money than I had first thought or anticipated," he said.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com