Legion raises $17,000 in major fundraiser

Dave Stewart
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John Yeo, president of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #1, holds some the the $10,000 cash draw tickets that sold out after a public appeal last week.

The Charlottetown Legion has enough money to keep going for the winter.

Last week, Branch No. 1 on Pownal Street was struggling to sell tickets to one of its major fundraisers.

The legion had more than 60 tickets to sell on its annual $10,000 cash draw with just days to go.

John Yeo, president of the legion, appealed for help through The Guardian and phones began ringing off the hook.

Yeo said all the tickets were quickly scooped up and the legion managed to raise $17,000.

"Hopefully, that will keep the sharks away for the winter,'' Yeo joked. "We could have easily sold more tickets.''

However, those who buy tickets are promised a one-in-300 chance of winning the big prize and selling more tickets would have interfered with the odds.

It's the second year in a row the legion has sold 300 tickets.

The legion also counts on participation in its bingo program to raise money. It's looking for more people to play along on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights.

The cash draw and bingo, along with bar and VLT revenue, enable Branch No. 1 to stay open throughout the year.

Attendance continues to be a problem at the institution and membership is down.

Bingo has been running for the past 50 years at the legion but revenues have been dropping in recent years. The last few months in particular have been difficult and the game has now become a money loser for the branch.

But, the cash draw was a success again and that has at least stabilized things for now.

Incidentally, Peter Betts, an employee with the Queen Street Meat Market, was the lucky $10,000 winner.

A-1 Vacuum Sales & Service took the second prize of $1,000 while Deltaware Group No. One was awarded third prize of $500.

The one area of revenue the legion will not touch, even in tough financial times, is the poppy fund. That money is strictly used to assist veterans, dependents of veterans, children of veterans and grandchildren. Examples of where the money goes include the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Navy League and Sea Cadets, Pat and the Elephant, Meals on Wheels, Camp Gencheff, academic bursaries, special grants and to various other organizations that support the needs of veterans and Islanders.

"We appreciate anybody and everybody that helped us out (on the cash draw),'' Yeo said. "I want to wish a Merry Christmas to all the people who supported us.''

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Queen Street Meat Market, Vacuum Sales Service, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Navy League

Geographic location: Pownal Street

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