The annual poppy appeal brings in thousands of dollars every year to support veterans and their immediate dependants. This year, in addition to the local collection boxes and street appeal, the RSA has launched a national Givealittle campaign raising money online until the end of May.
The poppy appeal began in 1922, the funds it generates helps the RSA with a major part of the service it provides to ex service personnel and their immediate families.
"What our poppy day appeal does, is give us a fund that we can immediately help someone in need. We see ourselves as a conduit to other support," president of the Welfare Fund and Whanganui Club Manager, Rod Hart, said.
"For instance we have a dedicated welfare person here so when someone has a problem they go see him and he will then redirect them onto Veterans Affairs or national RSA... and can then forward them on to doctors and all sorts of people who can help. He's a retired regimental sergeant major."
Traditionally an exclusive club, the Whanganui RSA has recently combined with the Cosmopolitan Club. The merger with a civilian' club is not unique to Whanganui and has allowed the RSA to maintain a very important function - camaraderie and a place to meet.
"The last Friday of every month is what we call our returned services day," Hart said. "For instance, I get together with a group of ex-regular force cadets from all over the Whanganui area.
"It's a good time to catch up and renew acquaintances and it seems to be growing."
The ability to talk about military life with people with similar experiences is a bonus.
"We certainly talk about the war, and I think the old guys talked about the war to each other but they didn't talk about the war to other people who perhaps wouldn't have understood what they were talking about."
This year's appeal salutes women in the military, which Hart says has become common.
"We've actually had women in combat and combat deaths of women, so it's an everyday part of New Zealand life and New Zealand Army life."
It costs $10 to join the RSA, which will get you into any club in the country. Applications are open to anyone who has served fulltime in the armed forces. The Givealittle campaign can be found online until the 31st May 2021.
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