From its inception, the Buddy Poppy Program has
helped the VFW live up to its motto, "to honor the dead
by helping the living." The Buddy Poppy, a small red
flower symbolic of the blood shed in World War I by
millions of Allied soldiers in defense of freedom, was
originally distributed to provide relief for the people of war devastated
France. Later, its distribution directly benefited
thousands of disabled and down-and-out American
National by-laws require that the
profits from these distributions be placed in the post's Relief
Fund to be used locally only for the following purposes:
• For the aid, assistance, relief, and comfort of needy
or disabled veterans or members of the Armed
Forces and their dependents, and the widows and
orphans of deceased veterans.
• For the maintenance and expansion of the VFW
National Home and other facilities devoted
exclusively to the benefit and welfare of the
dependents, widows, and orphans of disabled,
needy, or deceased veterans or members of the
• For necessary expenses in providing
entertainment, care, and assistance to hospitalized
veterans or members of the Armed Forces.
• For veterans' rehabilitation, welfare, and service
• To perpetuate the memory of deceased veterans
and members of the Armed Forces, and to comfort
With help from the VFW, the "Little Red Flower"
continues to benefit the needy. In 1989,
for example, 17,894,684 poppies were distributed for an
average donation of 55 cents. To date, the VFW has
distributed over three quarters of a billion Buddy Poppies. As
long as Americans continue to spill their blood in
defense of freedom, we will continue to distribute the blood-red poppies.