The leaders of various community groups who received donations from the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Club in Sidney pose with the club’s president, Johanna Emerick (centre). (Contributed/Gaye Phillips)

Sidney veterans club raises $29,000 for community organizations

Annual donation directly benefits Guides and Scouts, seniors centres, food bank, among others

Tucked away on Fourth Avenue, some would say the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Club is Sidney’s best-kept secret.

That’s how first vice-president Gaye Phillips describes the club of some 700 members who this year raised $29,000 to donate to nearly 20 local organizations including the Sidney Air Cadets, Guides and Scouts, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation.

“The more we can build that spirit of community, it feels absolutely fantastic. It’s so rewarding to know you contributed in some way, ” says Phillips.

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In a one-day blitz Dec. 2 that included breakfast with Santa, a pool tournament, special Christmas meat draw and a silent auction, the club also raised $3,485 for the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank.

“This incredible day required a tremendous amount of volunteer work, which is the backbone of the club,” Phillips says.

This summer the club held a car show with a beer garden, and events like these coupled with revenue from games such as Keno in the lounge or weekly meat draws add up, enabling the annual donation.

“Our mandate is to give that money away,” Phillips says. “We support a lot of organizations that do a lot of terrific work in our community.”

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The club is seeing a change in its membership as older generations give way to younger ones, particularly in Sidney where the demographic is changing. The club welcomes newcomers and its lounge is a lively place throughout the week with live bands on Fridays and weekly draws.

“The more [money] we’re able to raise through more people coming in the more we’re able to give back to the community,” Phillips says,

For more information on the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Club in Sidney visit Unit302.ca.


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