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The Legion in the Community

Although the Legion was founded to advance the cause of veterans, its grass-roots structure led naturally to community service. The “Foster Fathers Program”, founded in the 1940s to help boys who had lost fathers in the war, stirred the imaginations of members who recognized the Legion’s enormous potential to serve Canada. The Legion launched many community programs, including the National Unity and Seniors Programs and medical fellowships to promote geriatric and gerontology specialties across the country.

Soon branches across the country were responding to needs in their communities – an ambulance here, a sports program there, and eventually large-scale provincial and national projects, such as housing for the elderly, and the national track and field program for young Canadians. The athletics program for youth, established in the early 1950s, has been one of the Legion’s most successful programs. It has produced many top Canadian international track and field contenders and other prominent athletes.

Today, with 340,000 members, The Royal Canadian Legion is the largest veterans-based community service organization in the country contributing millions of dollars and voluntary hours to help Canadians, particularly veterans, seniors and youth.


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