Alanna Wong always had respect for Canadian veterans.
Her grandfather, Capt. James Sutherland Chisholm Fraser, a relative of Simon Fraser, served with the Royal Canadian Artillery in the Second World War, where he was wounded.
Her great-grandfather, Pte. J.S.C. Fraser, was also wounded in action while serving with The Queen’s Own Rifles in the Northwest Rebellion, in Saskatchewan.
Six years ago, in their tribute and in the lead up to Remembrance Day, Wong placed a stock photo of a crocheted poppy as her social media avatar.
Knowing that Wong was crafty and made blankets in her spare time, her friends and family eagerly inquired if she had created the poppy herself.
She hadn’t, but it sparked the idea as a fundraising project for the Royal Canadian Legion.
In her first year, in 2017, she crocheted 250 poppies to collect cash for the legion branch and Honour House in New Westminster, where she lived at the time.
Wong added another 100 the following year. Then, in 2019, she created 813 poppies (and raised $1,510) and last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, she made 785 poppies (and raised $1,520), for a combined total of 2,198 poppies.
“It just kind of snowballed,” Wong told the Tri-City News, noting her poppies were offered — for a donation — through Lower Mainland businesses or were mailed out.
Already this year, Wong has brought in $875 from her 305 poppies, which were made available starting Sept. 15.
However, the proceeds won’t be going to the Royal City; instead, Wong will give 100 per cent of her revenues to the legion branch in Port Coquitlam, where she now resides.
Working solo, Wong said each poppy takes about seven to 10 minutes to crochet and she typically makes about 100 a month, starting her project in January.
Her supplies — Impeccable yarn in cherry and black — are purchased during Boxing Day sales to keep expenses down.
And unlike the traditional polyethylene poppies that can be easily misplaced, Wong’s crocheted poppies are secured with a safety pin to attach as a brooch on hats, lapels and purses.
In the Tri-Cities, her poppies are available at Willow & Wallflower (2606 St. Johns St., Port Moody). Alternatively, you can direct message Wong via her Instagram account @blanketsbyalanna.
“Veterans are very important to me,” she said. “They volunteered their lives and gave so much for our country.”