RETURNED servicemen and women are asking for much-needed funds as they brace for a Poppy Appeal hit hard by the pandemic.
The Kangaroo Flat RSL's most recent Anzac Appeal was so badly affected that it only raised $6000, a fifth of 2019's tally, president Craig Chilver said.
"If we could get $10,000 this time I'd be wrapped," he said.
But easing social distancing restrictions have brought a chance for extra money to be raised.
More stores will likely be able to put out honesty boxes than for the Anzac Day appeal.
Reduced risks of infection also means RSL members can man some stalls out the front of some businesses.
Kangaroo Flat RSL members plan to open a pop-up stall at their Station Street hall on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 November.
The money raised will go directly to services for veterans as well as their widows and widowers.
The RSL helps them with everything from haircuts to transport and food, Mr Chilver said.
He said members and their families are struggling at the moment, though the biggest issue has not been lack of money or assistance from the RSL.
That burden was being eased largely by government assistance packages triggered when the economic crisis hit Australia.
"Loneliness is the biggest thing," Mr Chilver said.
The RSL has been vital for many members were cut off for months at a time because the pandemic stopped visits to friends, family, hospitals and nursing homes, Mr Chilver said.
Others were dealing with depression and other mental health challenges.
The Kangaroo Flat RSL is organising its members so that people living on their own are not forgotten, Mr Chilver said.
"It is not just veterans. Every person in Bendigo has been affected by the pandemic, but it's become more prominent in my mind because of the people we have got," he said.
"They might have been coming here for 60 years and suddenly they can't."
The RSL's annual poppy drive takes place in the lead-up to Remembrance Day, which commemorates the moment World War One's guns fell silent.