Dear Brothers and Sisters of the VFW Auxiliary,
I think we can all agree that this has been a challenging year for the Buddy Poppy & VFW National Home for Children program, as it was for all our programs. While there was nothing to stop you from donating to the Home, it was difficult to hold the fundraising programs we are used to doing to replenish our Relief Funds. As for Buddy Poppies, COVID-19 made it difficult to do the usual distributions, but judging from some of the reports I received, not impossible! I have to say that I was impressed by some of the imaginative ways Auxiliary members worked this program, proving once again that members of the Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars are dedicated to doing what they can for our veterans and their families!
I was impressed by the Auxiliaries who found ways to interact safely with their communities. For example, participating in a Community “Trunk or Treat” event for Halloween held in a parking lot and distributing Buddy Poppies to the families; wrapping plastic ware in napkins and attaching a Buddy Poppy to include with “to go” Thanksgiving meals; or having a Buddy Poppy table during a blood drive.
Auxiliaries also used Buddy Poppies in wreaths for cemeteries; distributed them at Memorial Day or Veterans Day events; and attached them to treat bags for residents of Care Homes on holidays.
Overall, 31 Auxiliaries promoted the Buddy Poppy within their Post and Auxiliary and 23 promoted them in their community. Some Auxiliaries used social media like Facebook to promote the Buddy Poppies, while others used radio, newspapers, and flyers. There were 27 Buddy Poppy drives held with Posts and 22 held by the Auxiliary alone. I was impressed by an Auxiliary whose members prepared bags for their schools which included Buddy Poppies and brochures along with other items to promote reading and educating our youth. One project – two programs!
While only 7 Auxiliaries were able to promote the National Home in their communities, 28 promoted it in their Auxiliaries and Posts. 15 Auxiliaries promoted the National Home Helpline within their Post and Auxiliary and 6 did so in their communities. 1 Auxiliary used radio and newspapers to promote the National Home Helpline while 10 used Facebook and other social media and 3 used flyers.
I know we are all affected by this pandemic and I know we are all anxious to go back to the way we used to do things. Thank you for persevering and doing what you can in a difficult situation. Hopefully, some of these innovative ideas will be continued and expanded once this current crisis has ended!
Thank you all for your hard work.
Buddy Poppy & VFW National Home for Children Chairman