The annual Poppy Appeal fundraiser for local veterans gets under way in earnest this weekend.

Members of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association have spent the past few weeks organizing volunteers and preparing and packing the iconic red flowers in donation boxes bound for stores, businesses and schools.

“There are thousands of English and Canadian poppies to be distributed,” said Paul Ebanks, the veterans association’s deputy president.

The annual poppy campaign runs until Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.

“The English poppies come ready with a green bud, but the Canadian poppies have to be put together, but we are kept ahead of that,” Mr. Ebanks said.

Acting Governor Franz Manderson received the first poppy of the year from local veterans on Oct. 10. Following that, there was a short delay in poppy distribution, according to Mr. Ebanks, as the veterans were busy preparing for last Saturday’s black-tie gala fundraiser to help support older veterans who need assistance. The association was also kept busy recently moving to a temporary office at the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association hall, from where poppies will also be distributed.

The Veterans Association President Andrew McLaughlin said the money raised during the annual poppy appeal alone cannot help veterans in need, so the association has to do other things to supplement the money required.

Mr. McLaughlin said they get good support from the public but as time goes on, more and more people are coming forward that need assistance. He said that is why the organization is constantly looking at new ways to fundraise.

“This year, we had the best support the gala has ever seen,” Mr. McLaughlin said, citing the event as one example of the additional fundraising the association carries out.

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