Legacy expecting big drop in donations

Maureen DettreAAP
Legacy are asking for online donations, with COVID restrictions preventing face-to-face fundraising.
Camera IconLegacy are asking for online donations, with COVID restrictions preventing face-to-face fundraising.

Legacy has been supporting the widows and families of Australian war veterans for 78 years with its annual badge-selling campaign but it will be tougher this time around.

Tens of thousands of volunteers usually rally for the annual event with ADF members, schoolkids, cadet and scout groups selling Legacy bears, badges, pens, wristbands and other merchandise on the streets across Australia.

But when Legacy Week is launched on Monday, that won't be happening.

The charity raised more than $3 million last year but is expecting a 25 to 50 per cent decrease in donations this year due to COVID and government restrictions preventing face-to-face fundraising.

Instead it's asking community supporters and corporations to buy the traditional merchandise from their local Legacy club or visit an official online shop selling Legacy merchandise.

NSW Acting Minister for Veterans Geoff Lee said nothing would stop Legacy Week going ahead.

"The current social restrictions should not stop us from supporting this very worthwhile cause," he said.

"Thousands of Australian men and women are currently serving overseas and Legacy stands ready to assist their families when needed."

Legacy has held a badge day since 1942 to raise funds to support the families of veterans who have died, been severely injured or left with mental health issues.

"This year will be tough with the reduced opportunity to do any face-to-face fundraising and inability to engage with the public but the health of the community and our many volunteers and supporters is more important," Legacy President Gregory Wrate said.

"I am asking Australians to consider donating online to allow us to continue providing financial, educational and emotional support to our beneficiaries."

The money raised helps about 60,000 people with counselling, housing, medical treatment, advocacy and social support.

When soldier Major Michael Wiltshire died from a brain tumour at the age of 42, Legacy supported his widow Kerrie and two children, James and Emily.

"It could have all gone so differently without Legacy's support and influence," James said.

"We have had many strong role models come into our lives. I'm currently applying to join the Air Force and I doubt I would have had the confidence to go for it, if it wasn't for the encouragement of Legacy."

To donate online go to www.legacyweek.com.au.

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