“Making Life Bearable for our Veterans”
“Buddy” Poppy® Program
The “Buddy”® Poppy has been an integral part of the VFW Community for more than 95 years. As the VFW’s official memorial flower, the Poppy represents the blood shed by American service members. It reiterates that we will not forget their sacrifices.
We must educate our communities to recognize “Buddy”® Poppies and to understand and appreciate the benefits our veterans receive from our poppy drives.
“Buddy”® Poppies are assembled by Veterans in need and disabled Veterans, affording them additional income and a form of therapy.
Before Memorial Day in 1922, the VFW conducted their first poppy distribution, becoming the first veterans’ organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, as it remains today.
When your Department purchases “Buddy” Poppies for distribution a portion goes to the Department’s Veterans Service Fund, The VFW National Headquarters Veterans Service Fund, and the VFW National Home for Veterans.
When your Auxiliary hosts or co-host a “Buddy”® Poppy Drive, the money collected goes into the Auxiliary relief fund to be spent on so many programs:
- Aiding Auxiliary members in need of financial assistance.
- Meeting obligations or sending monetary gifts to the VFW National Home for Children
- On Hospital work and Veterans & Family Support work for all veterans, members of the armed forces, Auxiliary members and their families.
- On the National Auxiliary Cancer Aid & Research Fund.
- On Special purposes authorized by National Headquarters.
- To perpetuate the memory of deceased veterans and members of the armed forces and to comfort their survivors.
- To foster true patriotism through historical and educational programs.
Learn more by visiting the VFW website at:
One mighty flower impacts our organization substantially.
“Buddy”® Poppy drives can be done at anytime during the year not just on Veterans Day or Memorial Day. You can distribute at all types of events including parades, membership drives, community events, or patriotic events. Display the “Buddy”® Poppy in posters, wreaths, window displays, centerpieces, etc., display it anywhere that can start the “conversation.”
Reminder: ALL proceeds from “Buddy”® Poppy drives or events are to be placed in Relief Fund with receipts and expenditures in accordance with the Treasurer’s Guide and National Bylaws.
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
- vfwil.org > Resources > Reports & Forms
- Brochures, distribution supplies, and promotional materials can be ordered from the VFW Store
- Call (800) 821-2606
“Buddy”® Poppy Display Contest
“Buddy”® Poppy display contests provide a fun, creative way for the Post and Auxiliary to work together. It is also an opportunity to involve members and other organizations in your community; consider asking prominent members of your community and youth groups to participate in the contest. When the contest is over, use your displays to help tell the “Buddy”® Poppy story; share with students at a local school, take them to community centers or local libraries, or take them to local veterans centers or veteran homes to show off your beautiful work.
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 last 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.
All ties will be broken by largest “Buddy”® Poppy count.
VFW National Home for Children
***Mark your calendars – Illinois Day at the VFW National Home 2020 is September 26, 2020.***
After my first visit to the VFW National Home in Eaton Rapids, MI; I was motivated to be a Life Member. Not just because it was the “thing” to do, but because I truly understood and advocated their mission for our Veterans and their families in need.
The VFW National Home for Children is open to the families of active-duty military personnel, veterans, and relatives of VFW and VFW Auxiliary members. The family can be one or both parents with one or more children. To remain at the National Home, families must be committed to making positive changes in their lives. Together, the National Home’s comprehensive services help each family reach their full potential.
Becoming a Life Member of the National Home
One way to support the National Home is by becoming a Life Member. VFW and VFW Auxiliary members are eligible to become Life Members of the National Home. Life Members have the ability to vote for the trustees who represent their National Home District. Life Memberships are $50.00, members receive a membership certificate, wallet card, and Life Member Pin. A Life Membership to the National Home is a great way to create a lasting bond between yourself and the mission of the National Home. You can go to www.vfwnationalhome.org/membership or sign-up at Illinois Day at the National Home.
Get the word out about the National Home Helpline
Encourage military and/or Veteran families struggling with unemployment, post-traumatic stress, or other challenges to call the helpline at (800) 313-4200. The Helpline is a free service provided by the Home, it is answered by experienced problem-solvers who care deeply about Veterans and their families. The Helpline has people who are knowledgeable about the contacts needed to assist families with help. Even if a caller is not eligible to live at the home, they will be put in touch with the organizations in their area that can help them.
- Save the Helpline number in your phone contacts, so it easy to share
- Post information at your Post Home, Veteran centers, and high-traffic areas in your communities.
- Promote the Helpline in your Auxiliary communications, social media, newsletters, or emails
Please note this is a Helpline not a hotline, the Help line is answered Monday through Friday between 8am and 4pm (EST), except holidays. Messages left outside business hours are answered the next business day.
Donating to the National Home
Monetary donations to the National Home are crucial to their mission, as they receive no governmental funding and relies on the generous donations to support their mission four our Service members and families.
- Make a one-time donation
- Make a monthly donation
- Purchase a tribute brick for $100. Bricks are placed in various walkways at the National Home
- When using Amazon to order your basic needs at home, shop and checkout through amazon.com and choose VFW National Home as your charity of choice.
- VFW National Home will receive a donation from Amazon based on the total of your order.
- Host a fundraiser for the National Home. Need ideas? Visit vfwnationalhome.org/ideas
Ensure your Auxiliary donates at least 10 cents per member to Health & Happiness. Donations can be made online in MALTA or by mail.
- To Donate to Health & Happiness online in MALTA:
- Visit www.vfwauxiliary.org and select “MALTA Member Login”
- Log into MALTA
- Select “Make a Gift” from main Menu
- Select the “Make a Gift” button
- Enter the amount you would like to donate
- Enter payment information
- Select the “Make Gift Payment” button
- You will receive confirmation your gift has been made.
- To Donate by mail, send a check earmarked Health & Happiness to:
VFW Auxiliary National Headquarters
Attn: Health & Happiness Donations
406 W. 34th Street, 10th Floor
Kansas City, MO 64111
- A Citation to all Auxiliaries that participate in both programs – Buddy Poppy and National Home for Children by April 15, 2021
- 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, 2020 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)