2049 Westover Road
North Aurora, IL 60542
I am honored to be the chairman for The “Buddy”® Poppy program and VFW National Home for Children program during the “Honoring Old Glory and Those Who Fight For It ” year. These are two programs that complement each other. Both programs are “By veterans, for veterans” and help the VFW live up to its motto: “to honor the dead by helping the living.” The “Buddy” Poppy program provides the community an opportunity to show support of active military and veterans by wearing or displaying the “Buddy”® Poppy flower. All donations from the flower are to be used specifically for active military, veterans, and their families in need*. The VFW National Home for Children is a place where veteran and active-duty military families can live and get help in a nurturing community.
* See the Booklet of Instructions for more information.
The “Buddy”® Poppy Program
One of my favorite moments is seeing persons of all ages talk
with the community about the history and meaning of the “Buddy”® Poppy and just how a donation of any amount is used to help veterans and their families.
Buddy Poppy Facts:
- Buddy Poppies are assembled by veterans in need and disabled veterans affording them income and a form of therapy.
- The “Buddy”® Poppy flower is a symbol of the blood shed by Allied forces during World War I and is referenced in the poem, In Flanders Fields by Lt. Col. John McCrae.
- 100% of donations collected go into the VFW Auxiliary Relief Fund to be spent according to Treasurer’s Guide and National Bylaws. Below are some examples:
- Support Veterans, Auxiliary members and their families in need
- Temporary hotel lodging while awaiting medical care
- Assistance with critical and necessary home bills – heat, cooling, electric, etc.
- Urgent needs for clothing and food
- Home or yard maintenance for those that through age or disability are unable to perform the work themselves
- Emergency car repairs to get to work and/or medical appointments
- Survivor comfort
- Stop-gap assistance for deployed service member’s families that are awaiting disbursement of funds from branch of service or the VA
- VFW National Home for Children
- National VFW Auxiliary Cancer Aid & Research Fund
- Provide financial assistance to maintain state and national Veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs
- Any other emergency relief on a case-by-case basis
Learn more by visiting the VFW website at http://vfw.org/community/community-initiatives/buddy-poppy
Typically, distribution dates have been centered around Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but they can be distributed year-round at parades, patriotic events, and membership drives. Poppies may also be distributed in local shops and restaurants as wreaths, centerpieces, remembrance walls, hats, etc. The possibilities are endless!
- Auxiliaries Host or co-host with VFW Post a “Buddy”® Poppy Drive.
- Check with local businesses and the city to see if a permit is needed.
- Order Poppies and supplies (posters, “Buddy”® Poppy story pamphlet, volunteer buttons, etc) at least 6-8 weeks in advance
- Share distribution dates on social media, website, and local newspaper. Post flyers in high-traffic areas of local businesses.
- Provide volunteers with instructions, brief history of the “Buddy”® Poppy, and document with responses to frequently asked questions.
- Most importantly, wear VFW, VFW Auxiliary, or patriotic apparel and always wear a smile
- For an example of how-to setup a “Buddy”® Poppy Drive with sample timelines, instructions, etc, visit
- VFWIL.org > Programs > “Buddy”® Poppy / National Home
How to Order:
- Contact VFW Department Headquarters by phone 217-529-6688
- Download and send in the Poppy Order Form found on the Department VFW website
- Brochures, distribution supplies, and promotional materials can be ordered from the VFW Store
- Call (800) 821-2606
Each year, VFW and VFW Auxiliaries partner to create a “Buddy”® Poppy display to compete against other VFW and VFW Auxiliaries around the country. This is an opportunity to involve members and other organizations in your community.
Category 1- Public promotion of poppy sales: (Window, booth, parade, or poster displays, sales promotion, etc.)
- Displays must be designed for public exposure and must bear a message urging the buying and wearing of the VFW “Buddy”® Poppy.
- At least one (1) of the poppies used in the display must be in their original form and color, with labels attached.
Category 2- Memorial or inspirational displays (wreaths, memorial tablets or plaques, patriotic or devotional themes.)
- Displays must be designed to honor the dead, to inspire devotion to God and country, or to dramatize the activities supported by the “Buddy”® Poppy Program.
- At least one (1) of the poppies used in the display must be in their original form and color, with labels attached.
Category 3- Artistic or decorative use of poppies: (Post home displays, table centerpieces, corsages, pictures, plaques, models, scenes, hats, novelty pieces, etc.)
- Display not meeting the qualifications for categories 1 or 2 shall automatically be entered in Category 3.
- Complete freedom shall be permitted in use of poppies, poppy parts or poppy labels, and in the use of dyes or paints in achieving the desired artistic effect. C. At least one (1) of the poppies used in the display must be in their original form and color, with labels attached.
1) The scoring of the displays will be in accordance with the national rules.
Originality-25 points; Composition-25 points; Neatness-25 points; Poppy Story-25 points; for a total of 100 points maximum. The Originality, Composition, and Neatness are self-explanatory, with the Poppy Story as outlined in the “Buddy”® Poppy Story.
2) Awards – There will be a First and Second Place Plaque awarded in each Division. Category One must have been on display at least three days.
3) A report must be sent to Department “Buddy”® Poppy Display Director prior to the Department Convention. Any display not accepted at District level, or not entered in District judging, will be ineligible for Department judging.
4) All Displays entered and accepted at District level will be accepted for Department judging during the Department Convention.
5) Forms for judging and reporting results will be passed out to the District Commanders at February Council of Administration Meeting, to be forwarded to each District Chairman.
6) Poppies to be used in display contest are to be ordered from VFW Department of Illinois Headquarters.
All District Contests Should Be Completed by Memorial Day. The Districts will award prizes to their winners at their discretion. Each District entry will be allowed to enter in the Department Contest, in each of the three categories. However, they must remain in the category and division as entered in the District judging.
How to be REPORTED in “Buddy”® Poppy:
Hold a “Buddy”® Poppy Drive
Use “Buddy”® Poppies in wreaths for patriotic holidays, centerpieces, etc.
Enter a “Buddy”® Poppy display contest for District and/or Department judging
Auxiliaries or District can hold special “Buddy”® Poppy contests, such as “Buddy”® Poppy Hat contest; involve the children for “Buddy”® Poppy King and/or Queen; educational flyer on the “Buddy”® Poppy to hand out at school with the Veteran in Classroom, etc.
VFW National Home for Children
***** Illinois Day at VFW National Home for Children is September 25, 2021 *****
Visiting the VFW National Home for Children in Eaton Rapids, MI, is an experience you don’t want to miss. I remember my first visit the National Home, a small-town community: such a safe and caring community that helps families of active-duty military, veterans and relatives of VFW and VFW Auxiliary members. I am a strong supporter and know you too will be one after a visit. Join us at Illinois Day, open for all Auxiliary members.
VFW National Home for Children Facts:
- The National Home community is open to families of active-duty military, veterans and relatives of VFW and VFW Auxiliary members with a commitment to making positive changes in their lives.
- There are 42 single-family homes with facilities such as gym, library, computer and science labs, day care center, playgrounds, fishing pond, hiking trails, and more.
- Illinois sponsors 2 homes, maintaining and upgrading the buildings as needed as well as purchases something to be used by all each year (for example, purchasing large gym mats).
- Military families not living on the National Home campus can receive invaluable assistance through the National Home Helpline. If you know someone who needs assistance, encourage them to:
For more information, visit https://www.vfwnationalhome.org/.
How to Support:
Auxiliaries have a number of ways to support the National Home:
- Fundraise for the National Home. One example is to host a .1k fun run event using the toolkit available at https://www.vfwnationalhome.org/toolkit.
- Contribute gifts to Health and Happiness Fund through MALTA or by mail. Contributions support the following at the National Home:
- Christmas gifts
- Graduation gifts
- Maintenance of Auxiliary-sponsored buildings
- Emergency repairs and renovations
- Encourage members to become National Home Life Members for a one-time fee of $50 that includes membership certificate, wallet card and a Life Member pin. There are two types of membership:
- VFW and VFW Auxiliary members and organizations are eligible to become Life Members. Life Members may vote for the Trustees who represent their National Home District and approve any proposed changes to the bylaws and articles of incorporation.
- Any individual or organization wishing to support the National Home’s mission can become an Associate Life Member. Associate Life Members do not have voting privileges.
How to be REPORTED in VFW National Home for Children:
Fundraise for National Home
Encourage members to attend Illinois Day
Encourage members to become Life Members
Donate to Health and Happiness Fund
For more information about membership, visit https://www.vfwnationalhome.org/membership
- A Citation to all Auxiliaries that participate in both programs – “Buddy”® Poppy and National Home for Children by April 15, 2022.
- A Citation to all Auxiliaries that promote the purchase of a Life Membership to the VFW National Home for Children.
- An Award and Citation to the Auxiliary Chairman with the best promotion of each part of the “Buddy” Poppy / VFW National Home for Children program in their meetings. All parts of the program must include and reports due to the Department Chairman within 30 days of your meeting.
- An Award and Citation to Auxiliaries with the best community outreach of the “Buddy” Poppy program through distribution, education, involvement, and publicity.
- A Citation to all Auxiliaries who make 25 cents or more donation to Health & Happiness based on their June 30, 2021 membership total.
- A Gift and Citation to one Auxiliary in the downstate, upstate, and mid-state who have the most participation at Illinois Day at the VFW National Home.
- A Citation to the District that participates in all parts of the “Buddy” Poppy / VFW National Home for Children program in District meetings
- An Award and Citation to District Chairman with the best community outreach of the “Buddy” Poppy program through distribution, education, involvement, and publicity.
- A monetary award and Citation to the District President with the most NEW Life Memberships to the VFW National Home.
We have provided a place here for you to download all of the information that we distribute to you through our Program Book and Bi-Monthly Chairmen’s Bulletins. You will need Adobe Reader, it is a Free program and can be downloaded here Get Adobe
“Buddy”® Poppy Story Cards (print using Avery 5371 or equivalent)