By: Michelle Poirier
On Saturday, August 15, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., volunteers and members of Sutton Legion Branch 356 collected bottles and cans to help raise money to keep the branch running; they will be accepting bottles until Friday, August 21.
Peter Leach, First Vice-President of the Sutton Legion, organized the drive. This was the first bottle drive held for the Sutton Legion.
“Without the Legion being open, we’re unable to make any money to pay our bills; without that, we’ll be closed. So we needed to do something,” Mr. Leach said.
As well as the bottle donations, Mr. Leach said he has been receiving e-transfers from friends from around the country that used to live in Georgina and want to help support the Legion.
“Everybody has a connection to this Legion somehow, between baseball sponsorships, hockey sponsorships, weddings, birthdays, everything,” he said.
Russ and Nancy Goheen, from Pefferlaw, attended the bottle drive. They have had beer bottles accumulating in their garage for the past year and ended up donating 32 cases to the bottle drive.
“The club’s on hard times right now and since the Pefferlaw beer return is not open the bottles have been accumulating in my garage, and I thought a good way to get rid of them was to take them to the Legion,” Mr. Goheen said.
He said he and his wife attend the Legion Remembrance Day service every year, and they wanted to support the Legion any way they could.
Steven Wiebe, President of Branch 356, said the best thing the community can do is to continue to show their support by showing up when then Legion has fundraisers and to attend their annual Remembrance Day Parades in Keswick and Sutton.
Since March, the branch has been closed but has still had to pay the heat, hydro, telephone and insurance.
“You must become creative in the way you do things. We’ve been fortunate so far, to be able to continue to pay our bills, so that’s been good, it’s very tough for some other Legions,” Mr. Wiebe said.
He said now that some COVID-19 restrictions are lifting they have been getting inquiries about hosting events, but that is it something they are still working out.
Mr. Leach said the Sutton Legion plans an outdoor barbeque to raise more money in a few weeks and that they may schedule another bottle drive in the Fall.
“It makes me feel good because they know that when we’re back on our feet, we’ll be helping the community again. And that’s what it’s all about. They help us; we help them,” Mr. Leach said.