Tillsonburg Lions Club’s first lawn poppy campaign was a resounding success.
Launched in the summer of 2021, 3,000 poppies were sold with all funds raised going to Canadian veteran services through the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Trust Fund.
And they could have sold more.
“It sold out – there was about 1,000 people that wanted more poppies,” said Dave Beres from the Tillsonburg Lions Club.
“We were a little concerned about a week prior,” said Beres. “Then the word got out and people started seeing them – they could not be put on display until the 29th of October. Once people saw them, they thought, ‘I want one.’ And then we ran out.”
The 9×12-inch durable vinyl lawn poppies, sold at $10 each or three for $25 could only be displayed between Oct. 29 and Nov. 11 in the community. One huge advance order was made with their Ottawa supplier in the summer, but the Lions ordered extra poppies for fall requests.
“Next year we’ll probably go for an extra thousand. So we did 3,000 this year and our target for next year will be 4,000. Maybe 5,000, the program is just starting.”
The local target was to raise $10,000 and they surpassed that. On Thursday at the Tillsonburg Legion Remembrance Day dinner, the Lions Club presented a $12,454 cheque to Don Burton, chair of the Legion Br. 153 poppy campaign.
“The (traditional lapel) poppy program last year, with COVID, compared to other years, was not as successful as what it had been in years gone by. The regular poppy program is still in effect, but what happened was that we wanted to add to it a little bit,” said Beres. “So the Lions Club felt really good … and it’s spreading.”
Beres, inspired by Gary Martins from the Lambeth Lions Club who launched the first lawn poppy campaign in 2020, said he expects even more district Lions to jump on board next year, noting more than $50,000 had been raised by participating Lions from Windsor to Long Point.
“The Lions Club hasn’t been able to participate in community service during the COVID period and this gave us an opportunity to get together, roll up our sleeves and go to work for the right reasons.”