The Poppy Appeal funds support past and present service personnel and their families.
Generous kiwi's contribute to record breaking poppy appeal result
Donations to the 2015 Poppy Appeal have broken previous records, with generous Kiwis do-nating more than $2.5m to support the Returned and Services’ Association’s work helping past and present service personnel and their families.
RNZRSA Chief Executive David Moger said the funds would enable RSA Support Advisors to provide assistance to even more people in need.
“People always give generously to our Poppy Appeal but I think the Gallipoli centenary commemorations really highlighted the sacrifices our service men and women have made, and continue to make,” said Mr Moger.
“I want to thank the public, our volunteer collectors, including Defence Force personnel, businesses, including FoodStuffs, Mitre 10, PAK ‘n SAVE, Z, NZME and ANZ, who got behind the appeal. I must also acknowledge our Poppy Ambassadors Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Peter Leitch, Sir Graham Henry, Philip Meyer, Antonia Prebble, George Bridgewater and Mark Hadlow for their support.”
New initiatives during this year’s appeal included the PINAPOPPY appeal, inviting people to pin a virtual poppy on their social media profiles; the Giant Poppy art project to create the world’s largest poppy; and Truck Poppies, which saw large poppies displayed on 1,700 trucks, including the entire Fonterra fleet.
Poppy Appeal funds are held in trust exclusively for support services, separate from all other RSA funds, and are used to support past and present service people and their families in a range of ways.
The RNZRSA’s new Support Services Manager Mark Compain is a veteran himself, having served with the New Zealand Army in Bosnia, East Timor and Afghanistan.
“Today we are producing more veterans than anytime since the end of WWII, so the RSA is just as relevant today than it ever was. Our support is available to all current service and ex-service personnel - with or without operational service - and their families, including those still serving in the New Zealand Defence Force; something the public may not be aware of. It’s important that we spread this message of support to as many currently serving and ex-serving personnel as possible, so they can access the support they need. And you don’t need to be a member of an RSA to access this assistance.”
The RSA’s volunteer Support Staff work with thousands of people around New Zealand, from WWII veterans to those who served in more recent conflicts as well as those still serving in the New Zealand Defence Force today. The Police are also able to access the RSA’s support services.
Poppy Appeal funds also cover education and personal development needs and other support for dependants of military personnel, such as respite for the families of service people currently serving overseas, recognising that the families of service personnel also make considerable sacrifices.
In addition, RSA Poppy Funds supported New Zealand’s team attending the 2014 Invictus Games, an international sporting competition for wounded, injured and sick service person-nel. Team Manager Warrant Officer Gary Clark says the RSA contribution to travel costs was essential for the team to be able to attend.
There are 181 RSAs countrywide and Poppy funds collected in each area are used to help people in that location.