A community Thanksgiving turkey dinner was held at the Sylvan Lake Royal Canadian Legion #212 on Friday evening.
Despite the first heavy snowfall of the year, the Legion saw around 45 people attend the dinner which is down from the traditional 70-80.
President of the Legion, Gord Graham said they were happy with the turnout considering the weather adding that they hope to see more people out in the future.
“When I was a kid fall dinners were very common, multiple groups put on dinners in a small community,” said Graham. “It wasn’t unusual to have a turkey dinner every weekend in the community in those days but the world is a different place now.”
He explained that in addition to their primary objective of support veterans and their families, they also try to carry on community traditions. In doing so they hope to increase awareness about who the Legion is, what they do and why they do it.
“We are a family based organization and we want to do more for more people and engage as many people as we can,” said Graham. “We hope that as people continue to support us and learn more about what we do that we will start to see new faces at these events and ensure that the work we are doing will continue. We have faith in the younger generations. I myself didn’t become a member of the Legion until much later in life.”
Graham explained these dinners are one of their methods of fundraising explaining they are also cultural tradition of the community they hope continues to exist. Each October the Legion fund raises through the Poppy Campaign, however this money doesn’t go towards keeping the Legion open.
“That money is earmarked for very specific purposes such as scholarships, supporting veterans and supporting our poster/literacy contests in schools which aim to engage younger generations in the Legion,” said Graham. “The money raised tonight and at our dinners goes towards keeping the doors open and the lights on. It costs around $80 a day to keep this building going. It’s important that when we are doing these dinners the community understands that. We don’t use poppy money to keep us operating and we need the support of the community.”
He added this Thanksgiving he thankful that as an organization they are still here in the community and in a position to contribute to veterans, their families and the well being of the community in a positive way.
“I am also thankful we are able to engage young people in understanding what remembrance is all about,” said Graham.