The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 124 in Niagara-on-the-Lake has received $10,800 in federal COVID relief funds.
The money was part of $20 million set aside to help legion’s across the country through the Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund.
Rhys Beak, chair of grants and bursaries for the NOTL legion, said the money is earmarked for operational costs and the legion will be using it to upgrade its air filters and purchase UV lights to help kill viruses and bacteria.
“These specifically will attack and remove viruses, similar to the COVID virus and that sort of thing. So it’s something long-term that will keep the air in the legion fresh and protect the health of our members, veterans and guests.”
He said the legion will purchase the equipment from Britain Mechanical Group on Read Road.
He expects the equipment to be installed sometime in the first quarter of this year. The legion submitted the application for funding in November 2020.
It’s an investment the legion wanted to make because COVID-19 will likely be around “for some time,” he said.
“Everyone’s looking to improve their health and this is just part of that.”
He said it takes about $2,500 per month to keep the legion operating.
Beak notes legions normally do not receive any federal funding but are self-sustained by fundraising efforts.
“We basically raise our own money and donate it and spend it as we will, under certain conditions, of course,” he said.
“We normally raise more than enough through our activities, especially as you know, the fish fry, to not only cover all our costs but allow us to generate extra money which we distribute in donations throughout the area, to veterans and groups like the air cadets and that sort of thing.”
Niagara Falls MP Tony Baldinelli said it’s important to help support the legion.
“COVID-19 has hit many of our community-based and not-for-profit organizations hard, including its impact on the work and efforts being performed by our five Royal Canadian Legion branches located in the riding. Since the spring, my Conservative colleagues and I have been advocating for support to our legions, so I was pleased to see funding finally flow to branches, such as General Nelles Branch 124, as part of the assistance provided to Dominion Command.”
The legion executive committee said it would like to thank all those who have supported its popular Thursday fish fry, which has been its main source of income throughout the pandemic.
The fish fry is cancelled until at least spring.
When it resumes, notices will be posted in The Lake Report.