By Matthew Murray 
QUINTE WEST – With Remembrance Day this Friday, the Royal Canadian Legion’s  annual poppy campaign is in full swing.
The Royal Canadian Legion began distributing poppies at community tables and boxes on the Oct. 28. While the poppies are given out for free, the legion does ask for donations to the Poppy Fund .
Manny Raspberry, president of Trenton Legion Branch 110 said the legion has over 300 boxes in more than 150 locations across Quinte West for this year’s campaign, as well as volunteers standing outside stores giving out poppies.
All money collected goes towards local veterans, their families and the community organizations that take care of them. This includes covering food, housing and medical costs for veterans who need assistance, educational bursaries for children of veterans and promoting remembrance activities across Canada.
“The money we collect is used just for veterans’ services,” Raspberry added. “We don’t use any of that money for anything other than veterans or anything that’s related to veterans.”
Around 150 Legion volunteers have been a part of the campaign, Rapsberry said. Over 50 volunteers from the 173 Royal Tiger Air Cadet Squadron , 704 Air Force City Air Cadet Squadron  and the 79 Trent Royal Canadian Sea Cadets are also involved in this year’s fundraiser, he added.
Wayne Monaghan, a 32-year Armed Forces veteran and a member of Branch 110 for over 20 years, has been volunteering with this year’s fundraiser in Quinte West. He said he finds the people of Quinte West to be very supportive of the military when he’s out selling poppies in front of local stores for the legion.
“I think it’s very important that they let veterans know that ‘we thank you’,” he said. “Let them know that [people] do appreciate what they’ve have done.”
In Belleville, over 25,000 poppies have been given out so far, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 99 Andy Anderson said. The community is showing plenty of support for the campaign, with poppy boxes having to be refilled every two days or so, he added. In previous years, businesses have refused to host the poppy boxes, but Anderson said every business asked this year agreed to take a box.
The legion’s poppy campaign ends on Remembrance Day. If you’ve taken a poppy this year, the Royal Canadian Legion asks for you to leave it at a local cenotaph such as the ones in Trenton and Belleville on Nov. 11 as a sign of respect for veterans.