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Legion Chef Jean-Marc Dupuis and RCL #225 president Denise Driver are still working with a 37-year-old stove that spits sparks and turns on by itself (they remove the fuses when not in use). The stove needs to be replaced, at a cost of $11,000 installed, and fundraising efforts are in full swing,
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With much of its activities focused on suppers and breakfasts, the Royal Canadian Legion Br. 225 can’t do without a functional stove, so the organization has had to step up its fundraising when it found out its commercial stove needed to be replaced. The last few months have seen everything from craft sales, garage sales and a scotch nosing event, to dances and dinners and breakfasts, all aimed at generating the $11,000 needed to buy a new stove.
President Denise Driver says the old stove is finished and can no longer be repaired. “It’s 37 years old and it keeps firing up on its own!” she notes. She relates how one of the volunteers was standing by the stove, with nothing on it and the burners off, when suddenly sparks started inexplicably flying. “She got so scared! We have had it fixed 3 or 4 times and finally the gentleman said there was nothing he could do; it has had its day.”
Driver adds that the stove is still being used, but every time it’s shut down they have to remove the fuses, and while in use the stove is continually monitored.
“We use the stove for all of our functions,” she says. The 6-burner, 2-oven, 24-inch grill Garland electric stove costs in the area of $11,000. “We are getting the same thing, a Garland, but with gas, which is better. …We’ve been looking at used stoves and went all the way to London. The [seller] said his stove was fantastic, but when we got there and there were holes in the stove -— we decided to go with a new stove.”
While the Legion has been holding many fundraisers, there’s still a stretch to go. “We have at least another $5 to $6 thousand, because we needed chairs too,” notes Driver. “People have been falling off the chairs! So before we get sued, we thought we’d better buy some chairs, so we had to take some of the stove money, and now we have to replenish [those funds].”
Driver admits that maintaining the Legion facilities has become a challenge, and Command prefers that Legion branches not go into debt. They’ve been looking at various funding programs, but Driver says most of the grants are targeted towards renovating kitchens and bathrooms for persons with disabilities. “We have a lot of things we can fix,” she says, but adds that the building itself is sound. “The fundraising has been going well. The Caisse populaire and the Police Services Board have been very generous.”