A surplus of volunteers for the Whangarei RSA Trust's poppy appeal means some will have to wait until next year for their turn.
Two days out from the annual appeal on April 15, the trust feared a lack of volunteers may prevent organisers from matching previous years' collections to support those who relied on the donations. Only 25 volunteers had signed up four days before the appeal.
After an article about the call for more volunteers in the Northern Advocate, trust chairman Archie Dixon said offers of help came flooding in.
"We were overwhelmed by the response and had more collectors this year than we've had in previous years, which also gave us a wider coverage within the CBD and areas such as Kamo and Raumanga," he said.
Mr Dixon said the response also lessened the burden of the trust's own volunteers. He said people from all ages and background responded to the plea and he thanked everyone for their support.
The trust collected $22,000, but Mr Dixon said a significant sum of money was yet to come in from businesses, schools and those who donated online and via their cellphones. "Our prediction is we'd collect approximately $24,000 to $26,000. I feel if we hadn't had that support, our collection this year would've been significantly down from last year."
The lack of volunteers came about after war veterans and their wives or widows stopped participating because of infirmity. Money raised from the poppy appeal provides much-needed support services to the war veterans, their widows and dependants. There are other extraordinary circumstances where the RSA Trust provides financial help such as cataract operation, new glasses, dentures and hearing aids.
Since 2002, the trust had funded more than 120 cataract operations. This year, between 25,000 and 30,000 poppies were distributed to people on the streets as well as to Whangarei businesses and schools.