A casual challenge issued at Sarnia’s Legion Hall recently turned into something pretty special.
It began when Branch 62 regular Paul VanEkeren convinced his table to pool their pocket change for a homeless veterans program run by the Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command.
Word spread quickly through the busy Front Street hall, already packed for the weekly “Chase the Ace” draw.
As change rattled into a five-gallon collection jug, branch service officer Bob Chafe grabbed the mic in an appeal for donations.
“(Paul VanEkeren) asked me if I would challenge each table to do the same. His table raised $85, so he asked me to challenge all the other tables,” said Chafe.
“We ended up with just over $1,200.”
“Operation Leave the Streets Behind” assists homeless or near homeless veterans with housing and other supports such as toiletries and clothing, Chafe said.
Since the program began in 2009 it has helped 691 male and female veterans, including a number in Sarnia.
Chafe said donations are accepted at the Legion, located at 286 Front St. North.
“One of the greatest feelings you’ll ever have is to be able to help somebody. But when you can help somebody that has served our country and worn the uniform, it doesn’t get any better.”