Royal Canadian Legion BR059 Grand Forks' president, Ken Cruickshank, presents a cheque for $1000 to Darrell Hardy of the Christmas Hamper Program.
Photo by Chris Hammett

Royal Canadian Legion plays Santa by donating thousands back to community

The Legion donated over $6,000 this holiday season

Grand Fork’s local Royal Canadian Legion Branch #59 is already getting in the holiday spirit, donating thousands back to the community ahead of the holidays.

“The principal mandate for the Royal Canadian Legion is to support veterans and their families, but we’re also committed very much to supporting the community,” said Branch president Ken Cruickshank.

In total, the organization donated $6,300: $1,000 to the Christmas Food Hamper at Gospel Chapel; $700 to the Boundary Musical & Theater Society; $700 to the Minor Hockey Association; $900 to the Festival of Trees; $1,000 to the Boundary Horse Association; $1,000 to the Christina Lake Firefighters Hamper Program; $1,000 to the Grand Forks Food Bank.

The Branch holds weekly meat draws where the profits are put aside and then used to aid in community efforts and donations such as these most recent ones.

Each year, Branch #59 decides which group to donate to, with many groups getting annual donations. This year, however, a new, potentially unexpected recipient added to the list is the Boundary Musical & Theater Society.

“They provide an element of joy and entertainment to the community that we felt that it was a worthy cause to support them because they bring a little bit of a smile on the individuals’ faces through their performances,” said Cruickshank.

“They’ve been significantly curtailed over the last couple of years because of COVID. So, we were trying to get them back on the production line, if you will, so that they can entertain the community.”

Another unique donation recipient, the Boundary Horse Association, received their donation to support the rehab expenses of a local high school student thrown from her horse.

Cruickshank says it is especially crucial to give back during the Christmas season because the holidays often come with increased financial pressure for families to make sure there are gifts under the tree and food on the table.

“It’s a stretch for a lot of people,” he said.

Much of the money donated directly or indirectly helps those struggling with food insecurity this Christmas, as the Boundary Community Food Bank experiences a significant increase in demand.

Cruickshank says the branch is eager to support the community.

“The community contributes towards us on a regular basis, whether they’re coming in to the patrons in our lounge, whether they’re coming in for the draw, when they’re supporting organizations like the farmers market, or whatever, which is inside our premises. It’s our opportunity to show our appreciation back to those individuals by helping them.”