The Okotoks Legion's Poppy Campaign starts Friday.

It's tradition for Royal Canadian Legion branches to launch their campaigns on the last Friday of October, and that's when poppy boxes will start appearing in Okotoks stores.

As usual, Legion members will be manning tables at Sobeys, Costco, and both entrances to Walmart. That'll start on November 1 this year.

Legion Branch #291 President Malcolm Hughes says there are no major shakeups to this year's campaign, just a few newer additions.

"It's pretty well the same as we've always done, we add little things occasionally. For instance, a little while ago we added the metal poppy centres that replaced the traditional pins, along with a few other things. We have additional items at the tables... we now have tap boxes at the locations we're sitting. There's the ability now to use a debit or a credit card and make a tap donation."

Poppy Chair Nancy Tonn says all donations to the fund go to services for veterans and first responders.

"Any funds out of the poppy fund go to veterans and their families, or any service for those veterans. In other words, we give to things like hospitals and the hospice. Of course, when I say veterans, that includes the RCMP and emergency service workers. It's quite a wide area that the funds go to.

In the past, they've donated to the High River Hospital, the Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre, and for an expansion to the Okotoks veterans memorial wall, among many others.

Tonn says Okotokians always show up to support the Legion.

"Last year, it was $66,300 and change. The year COVID was rampant, we actually brought in $115,000. We were thrown into shock because we didn't think people would have that money. People felt that they couldn't go away so they would give the money to a good cause, it was super."

Another Legion tradition is to pin poppies on local politicians, which happened on Monday (Oct. 23).

Before the council meeting, Legion members pinned poppies on Mayor Tanya Torn, councillor Oliver Hallmark, CAO Elaine Vincent, council assistant Rosanne Matheson.