What does the VFW do with their Poppy money?

Friday, August 5, 2016

VFW Poppy sales fund veterans' programs locally
By Carl Christophersen, Commander, Blackburn-Aurora VFW Post 3348

I wanted to let the Shoreline Area News readers know what our VFW Post did with proceeds from our Memorial Day Buddy Poppy event that we held at four stores - Central Market, and Fred Meyer stores in Shoreline, Lake City and Thrasher’s Corner - in May 2016.

It took two monthly meetings to arrive at agreement amongst the members.

We can only afford to donate thousands of dollars after each event, and since most of the larger organizations servicing veterans get grants in the millions of dollars, we look for value in the organization itself and otherwise how a small contribution from our VFW Post can more directly benefit veterans in need.

The list that we agreed upon of organizations which would this time be the recipients of our donations, follows:
  • WA Soldiers Home (Orting) -- 181 acres in Orting, WA -- serving 192 residents, all of whom are veterans.
  • Fisher House at the VA Hospital in Seattle --- they house relatives of veterans who are in the VA hospital.
  • Boy Scouts of America (VFW supports Boy Scouts).
  • USO Northwest at SeaTac
  • USO in Turkey
  • National Home for Children --- 42 houses on 600 acres in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. One of the houses is sponsored by VFW of Washington State. There is one house per veteran-related family -- including five common buildings, three maintenance buildings and one Guest house.
  • Operation Uplink --- pays for phone cards for active duty veterans overseas.
  • King County Medic One --- a public service organization, a critical link in our regional Emergency Medical Service system, providing high quality, advanced patient care. Several of our members are big fans of Medic One.
  • The Zakayla Productions Foundation -- they hire veterans to do repairs / renovations on homes of disabled veterans.
  • Compass Housing Alliance --- Shoreline Veterans Center.

This last one we treated differently. Last year, several of us visited the Compass Housing Alliance’s Shoreline Veterans Center on N 200th. We discovered that even though over the years, our VFW Post had donated thousands to them, the 25 veterans who lived there, knew not of us.

So starting last Veteran’s Day, we heard from some veterans who live there that what they could most use were gift cards to either Walmart or Fred Meyer. They said that at Walmart and/or Fred Meyer, they could buy anything they needed there e.g. socks, underwear, special sandwiches, special cheeses, bedspreads, sheets, etc. The center provides transportation for their veterans, since they mostly do not have, or could not afford, a car.

So wanting to affect veterans in need more directly, our Post, on Thursday, Aug 4th, bought and hand-delivered 25 gift cards of $60 each from Walmart -- to the Shoreline Veterans Center --- one for each veteran living there.

We thank Shoreline Area News readers for their kind generosity and thought they might like to know how we made use of our Poppy funds.


Anonymous,  August 5, 2016 at 8:40 PM  

Thank you. It's so nice to see that you are thoughtful about what you decide to do, honor the wishes of your members, and don't take a big slice of the money to pay yourselves for thinking about it!

Anonymous,  August 6, 2016 at 8:57 AM  

Thank you for your detailed report. I always buy a poppy, but I never thought about what happened to the money. Sounds like you made thoughtful choices to help a variety of good organizations.

Karen W August 6, 2016 at 11:03 AM  

Thank you for your service to our country and for your continued service to your fellow veterans.

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