Legions in Dryden, Ear Falls and Red Lake have each received over $11,000 in federal funding, but Kenora’s Branch 12 did not. Kenora branch president Jerry Lava also oversees branches throughout northwestern Ontario and Manitoba, and he said there were other branches with more needs, who took part in the first phase of the application process for grants.

"We knew this was going to be challenging with 1,380 branches. There are now a second set of branches putting their application and financial information in for review," he said, noting the Kenora branch is hoping for good news next month. 

The funds are meant to help support them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and Ontario's state of emergency. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a $20 million announcement to support Legions in November.

Lava said revenues were down as the Kenora branch was down to about 20 per cent of their normal customers, possibly even less some days, before the latest lockdown.

"So, it's been proving extremely difficult on the reopen," he continued.

An event many members and supporters haven't forgotten is the finish for the latest round of Chase the Ace, with $27,000 in prize money and only four cards left. Still, Lava says people will have to remain patient.

"It is very challenging, and we know that the community is hurting, as well as we are. We understand, but we don't want to be sitting there possibly closing the doors," he added.

Local members may also recall the Keewatin branch closed about five years ago, and the Kenora branch has been exploring their options -- including a sale of their downtown property -- for many years. 

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It's been extremely slow, Legion