Volunteers are being sought countrywide to give a few hours of their time as collectors for the Returned and Services Association 2015 Poppy Day appeal on 17 April.
RSA National President BJ Clark said volunteer collectors play a crucial part in the success of the appeal which raises funds to help war veterans, former and current servicemen and women and their dependants across New Zealand.
They will be swelling the ranks of RSA supporters and hundreds of New Zealand Defence Force collectors who are enthusiastic supporters of the event.
“Last year we raised $1,780,983 through our Poppy Day Appeal, thanks in no small part to the tremendous support of all our defence force and other collectors,” said Mr Clark.
“Our street collectors are absolutely vital to that success and we would love to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer.”
The RSA has support advisors across the country who help war veterans, former and current servicemen and women, their spouses/partners, widows/widowers and dependants, whether or not they are RSA members.
Mr Clark said: “People think of veterans as being older, but those who were deployed in recent conflicts like Afghanistan and Timor are also veterans and we are here to support them too.
“Every Poppy Day is an important event but the Gallipoli centenary has given 2015 special resonance. We honour the memory of those who have gone before by caring for those still with us.”
Chief of Army, Major General Dave Gawn, and Sergeant Major of the Army Warrant Officer Class One Mark Mortiboy, have already been allocated their collecting locations.
“There’s very strong support for Poppy Day throughout the Army,” said WO1 Mortiboy. “We have many volunteer collectors but we approach it in military fashion. It is a directive and orders which sets it as a priority task. It’s exactly the same for the Air Force and the Navy.
“It comes from the top and every one of us sees it as a duty, a service and a privilege. I, and many of my colleagues, know current and retired soldiers who the RSA has helped.
“Volunteering to be a collector, or making a donation and wearing your poppy with pride is a way we and every member of the New Zealand public, can show respect to those who have served in many conflicts and missions of peace - and to those made the ultimate sacrifice.”
To volunteer as a poppy collector for April 17 please contact your local RSA. You can find details in the ‘find a RSA’ section of www.rsa.org.nz