Legion welcomes younger people

Archie McLachlan and family enjoy Sunday brunch at Branch 258 of the Royal Canadian Legion.Everyone is welcome to the Sunday brunches held at Branch 258 of the Royal Canadian Legion to help support seniors and veterans.

Most especially younger people and families.

Anne Storrar is the ticket seller for the Sunday brunch and she says there is a common misconception that the Legion is for an older crowd. She says they need more younger people.

“It wouldn’t hurt, it’d be good for them,” says Val Wright, a server at the brunch and a member for about 20 years. “It’s a fellowship and it’s important in your life.”

Archie McLachlan, a Royal Canadian Legion member since 1983, says although he does not come as often as he used to, he tries to help out simply because he likes it.

He says this is why he comes to the brunches.

McLachlan was among the several that brought their families to have brunch.

Wright says: “There are more and more new people bringing their families, visitors, and neighbours.”

While the members see many familiar faces, they say they still have lots of room for new people. Branch 258 is one of the bigger Legion branches.

The Sunday brunch is held the first and third Sunday of each month.

The Royal Canadian Legion was originally established to give veterans a place to meet and discuss the war in the camaraderie of their peers. But now the Legion sponsors youth and senior programs while helping with the community.

Located beside Branch 258 on Lawson Road is a place for long-term care for veterans — the Tony Stacey Centre.

The brunch is one of the fundraising events that help to raise money for the branch and the community. According to Stevens, the branch raises money for the veterans and seniors to have a better life.

Jim Gyselinck, President of Branch 258 of the Royal Canadian Legion, and his wife Linda cook breakfast for the Sunday brunch.“We want the community to know that the Royal Canadian Legion does a lot of work,” says Jim Gyselinck, President and CEO of the branch.

Their fundraising events donate to veterans at Sunnybrook, as well as to schools, churches, and the branch itself. According to Gyselinck, they serve at least 30 different charities per year, including the Canadian Cancer Society, Easter Seals, and the Kidney Foundation.

“Some of the seniors’ homes really need the help. It’s nothing just to cheer their day up,” says Storrar, long-time volunteer for the Royal Canadian Legion. “I’m here almost everyday and I enjoy myself.”

The members say word is getting around about the Sunday brunch and no matter how many people come, they will be waiting for them.

“It’s not a huge money maker but every little bit helps,” Storrar said about the brunch.

“There’s so much going on and people need help, even if it’s only a couple hours a week.”