Reduced funds from poppy sales over the last two years have made it difficult for the Barbados Poppy League to effectively meet the needs of the country’s ex-service men and women.
And now League officials are banking on a concert to be held next month to aid with finances.
“Everybody has been on hard times so they contribute less and we have in the last two years got less than half of what we got in the proceeding years [through the poppy appeal] and we have to make it stretch, the same amount, except things have gone up, so it’s not stretching too well,” Edna Moore the secretary of the League said.
Moore was speaking with the media along with League president Robert Graham about the needs of the 180 legionnaires on the island, 40 of them, in desperate need of everyday essentials.
“We have people who need glasses, wheelchairs, home repairs — Government helps with that to a certain extent but it cannot do everything — basic food stuffs. Some of them have pensions but their pensions are not much,” Graham explained.
The officials explained that the 40 who were in dire straits were those in the regiment during World War ll, who manned the guns from all along the West Coast, and in some cases along the South Coast.
They were also responsible for providing security for the movement of food and stuff.
“We have people who have served in the British Army; people who have served in the United States Army; we have people who served in Iraq in the United States Army, they are Barbadians… the problem is that when they get injured especially in the United States there is nothing there really set out for them.
“We have the Veterans Association and so on but then after a while people will need prosthesis and that type of stuff and they end up coming home and there is nothing here for them,” Graham lamented.
It is for this reason the League has embarked on a concert set for October 29 to help raise much needed funds.
“… because that is when we kick off with the poppy appeal. From that time on you will be seeing people on the streets with their poppies and we are asking everybody to give what they can. We know it’s hard at this time but if it’s hard for you it’s even harder for them,” Moore said.
The concert will involve the bands of the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados Defence Force as well as a number of guest artistes and will take place on the lawns of the Barbados Defence Force Officers mess.
Tickets are available from Wine World as well as the Main Guard.