The "Buddy Poppy" comes from the Poppy Flower that grew in the fields of France and Belgium despite all the death and destruction during WWI. The most popular, or maybe most well known, area where these flowers bloomed was in Flanders Fields. Canadian physician Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields"
in May 1915. This poem inspired the idea of the Remembrance Poppy, or "Buddy Poppy". In May 1922 the VFW distributed the Remembrance Poppy for the first time. Veterans often thought about their comrades that never returned from WWI and would call the Remembrance Poppy the "Buddy Poppy". In 1923 the idea of the "Buddy Poppy" grew and the VFW decided to pay disabled veterans to make the "Buddy Poppy" and distribute them in May. To this day, "Buddy Poppies" are made by disabled veterans and distributed around May (especially Memorial Day) and in some places around Veteran's Day too. They can be distributed at other times of the year but May is the most common time. Donations are accepted for the "Buddy Poppy" and the money goes toward many different causes that help veterans and their families. Check out some more information on the "Buddy Poppy" and watch a video on "The Veterans Behind the Buddy Poppy" here
There is a lot more information out there about the Remembrance Poppy and I encourage you to read about the history of the Remembrance Poppy.
Here in the Hamel area, the "Buddy Poppy" is made by veterans at the St. Cloud Veteran's Hospital. We distribute the "Buddy Poppy" in May and all donations we collect from the Poppy distribution go toward the veterans at the St Cloud Hospital and local veterans here with unforeseen expenses or hardships. These veterans do not need to be members of the VFW or American Legion, they only need to be a veteran or immediate family of a veteran. Some of the money collected goes to the National Home for Children
in Eaton Rapids, MI. Minnesota is a major supporter of the National Home.
Traditionally our members would stand outside local businesses during the month of May and hand out the "Buddy Poppy" to anyone interested. We would also collect donations for the Buddy Poppy program. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we were not able to distribute the "Buddy Poppy" in May 2020. We are planning to return to this tradition and distribute the Buddy Poppy this May 2021 and possibly at other times through out this up coming year. All are welcome to receive a Buddy Poppy and we will have a contactless process for receiving a Buddy Poppy and donating to the Buddy Poppy program. Please follow our website and Facebook page for updates as we learn more about Buddy Poppy distribution.
If you would like to donate to the "Buddy Poppies" program, please click on the "Donate Now" button below and select "Buddy Poppy" under the "(Optional) use this donation for" menu. Any donations made this way are used to aid local veterans in need.