Royal Canadian Legion desperate for volunteers
Things have changed for members of Airdrie’s Royal Canadian Legion.
As of Nov. 12, the organization, which caters to both members and non-members, has been run completely by a core group of around 10 volunteers.
It’s a first for members of the Legion, an organization that has been in Airdrie for the past 25 years.
“There is no paid employees because we can’t pay them,” said Connie Charbonneau, acting president of the legion.
According to Charbonneau, some of the volunteers have been at the Legion every day for the past month, which is taxing.
To ease the burden, the group is hoping to attract help from the community to keep the Legion open.
“We need volunteers,” said Charbonneau. “We need people that can help cook. We are getting pretty worn out fast.”
Charbonneau said volunteer teams, made up of people who can commit to a certain number of days per month, would be ideal. She added any help at all, even for an afternoon, would be welcome.
Members of the Legion built the group’s current home, located on Allen Street, in 1986. The building has a reception hall, commercial kitchen and main area, which has a full bar and is used most frequently for member gatherings.
The building is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 3 p.m. to close. Legion members host a number of weekly events, which are open to the public, including meals and activities such as Bingo and karaoke night.
Prior to Remembrance Day, the organization often hired part-time servers and bartenders, jobs that have now been taken over by volunteers to help the organization stay financially afloat.
The building, located at #288 508 3 Avenue, is currently for sale, so the organization can downsize as its membership has dwindled over the years to about 500 members, half of its original size.
Shirley Carew, who in her 70s and has worked long days at the legion for the past month, said although she is tired, keeping the Legion open is crucial.
“I’ve been volunteering for 50 years,” she said. “I want my Legion to stay, it’s for our vets.”
“It’s a place for (veterans) to gather and talk or sit in silence if they need to,” she said. “You can relax and know you are among people who are (similar).”
Charbonneau said in order to maintain the offerings at the Legion, the organization needs more support from both members and non-members.
“We don’t need volunteers if we don’t have the people to support this,” said Charbonneau. “We want everyone to come in and if you want to join, that’s awesome. You can sit down and have fun… once you come here there is always a familiar face. Just come and check it out.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact the Legion at 403-948-3000.