The Malahat Legion now has a new look, after extensive renovations. (Submitted by Malahat Legion)

The Malahat Legion now has a new look, after extensive renovations. (Submitted by Malahat Legion)

Guest column: Malahat Legion continues to thrive, support community through pandemic

We were able to work with the Young Seniors Activity Group to distribute more than 3,000 masks

By Gloria Solley

The Royal Canadian Legion, Malahat District #134 has been supporting the Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay and Cobble Hill community since it opened in 1934. Money raised during our meat draws and 50/50, go directly into the gaming account to be distributed to various non-profit local charities. The Poppy Fund is a separate account that is used strictly to help our veterans.

While our doors were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic and we had to cancel all our events, it did not stop us from helping the community and the community from supporting the Malahat Legion. Using social media we were able to get the word out when help was needed.

Using our parking lot and back yard we were able to work with the Young Seniors Activity Group (YSAG) to distribute the more than 3,000 masks they made during the first wave of the pandemic.

Thanks to our vice president and webmaster Jeff Lydiatt, an online auction program was developed with proceeds going to CMS food bank, the Broken Promises Animal Rescue, Quilts of Valour, Wounded Warriors BC Run, and The Military Police National Motorcycle Relay and Military Police Fund for Blind Children.

In addition, the community supported CMS Food Bank in Mill Bay, Broken Promises Animal Rescue, and various other projects by dropping off food and supplies. We were also able to collect cash donations to supplement the donations.

Thanks to the volunteers who stepped up to work the weekly bottle drives, and the amazing community support for donating to the bottle drives, we were able to pay for our essential utility bills.

Did you know that not only are you helping us by dropping off your bottles and cans, but you are also helping the environment? We collected more than 428,630 refundable beverage containers that did not end up in a landfill. We are proud to say that we are the recipient of a $2,000 first place award from the Bottle Depot Company in Victoria. The Saturday bottle drives will continue.

YSAG are now working on making quilts for our local veterans and the Legion has teamed up with Lynn Carroll, the district coordinator of Quilts of Valour, to give out many quilts to Canadian Armed Forces veterans. These quilts are made by volunteers to thank and support those who served.

This year with the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Grant, covered 100 per cent of the new equipment and construction of a new bar. This past winter the Legion had a massive flood in the building. Big thank you to all the volunteers who helped with the clean-up. The insurance paid for our new flooring

Big thank you to Justin Robertson at Malahat Contracting, the team at On Side Restoration, Jeff Edwards, Brandon Hutchinson at Rapid Plumbing, Valley Floors, Valley One Flooring and of course our volunteers, Vincent and Isabelle Hammer, Skip Whitfield, and many others. What a remarkable job they did transforming this Malahat Legion Branch 134.

On Saturday, July 31 held our grand reopening in our newly renovated lounge and bar. The Malahat Legion is now open Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m.-7 p.m.

We now have a beautiful, safe place for our members and guests to come. The Galley is now open and a new menu will be posted shortly. Bring your family for a fantastic eating experience.

Did you know that you can rent the Legion Hall and you can also arrange food for your event with our kitchen staff? Call the office at 250-743-4146 or email us at rcl134@shaw.ca to learn more. Now that the Saturday meat draws have started again, we will be able to assist our local non-profit charities. Charities can email us with their request for help at rcl134@shaw.ca.

Gloria Solley is the public relations representative for the Royal Canadian Legion Malahat District Branch 134.

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