The Turner Valley Legion is appealing to its community for survival.
With the various events and dining that make up much of the income stalling due to changing COVID-19 restrictions, the nearly 100-year-old Royal Canadian Legion Branch 78 is looking to neighbours to cover basic operating costs.
“When there’s no COVID, we have lots of streams of income,” said Linda Macaulay, first vice-president at the Turner Valley Legion. “We have none of those streams right now. We can do takeout, we can have dine-in at 50 per cent capacity.
“We have to serve at the tables, (customers) can’t come up to the bar, and we can’t have events that would give us any large return, like the Spook House, and we also can’t have the large attendance for weddings or celebrations of life or dances.”
With that pinch in funding, the non-profit is looking for help.
“Who knows when that’s going to change, so we’re seeking pledges to assist with keeping us open with our bills,” Macaulay said.
“We went to our community — they’ve been a part of why we’re still here. So we came up with this plan to do a pledge form, put it out to our membership emails and to Facebook, and right now we’re just waiting for them to come in.”
Macaulay said she recognized it’s difficult to ask for money without a promise of reward.
“It’s hard to ask when you haven’t got something back and forth, but we thought what the heck, we’ll go ahead and ask,” she said. “So we had an emergency membership meeting, and they all voted to go ahead and proceed.”
While the Legion conducts charitable efforts in the community, the charity funding from sources such as the Legion Poppy Fund is kept in a separate trust fund for those endeavours, where the operating costs are typically covered by the day-to-day business such as dining and events.
For the time being, the Legion is staying open for dining and takeout Thursdays and Fridays.
Even with that, Macaulay said, numbers are down.
“It’s a majority of seniors that come in here,” she said. “When you’ve got these restrictions, they’re afraid to leave the house.
“Yes they have families and kids and whatnot, and they may go to the grocery stores, but they’re not coming out to be social, and that’s the one thing we can’t offer a lot of with a lot of the restrictions.”
Keeping the nearly century-old service club going, Macaulay said, is crucial to the community.
“We do have veterans here who have been helped over the last 20 months,” she said.
“But we still support our veterans and we also support our community, and that’s the important thing.
“They come in and need something, we’re here.”
For more information or to contribute, call the Turner Valley Legion at 403-933-4600.