Where your Buddy Poppy donations went

Friday, June 28, 2019

Chris Christophersen presents a $2500 check to Shree Vigil, Program Manager,
Compass Veterans Center and Jennifer Marquette, Community Resource Coordinator, 

Compass Housing Alliance  Photo courtesy VFW

By Carl "Chris" Christophersen

Twice a year, Blackburn-Aurora VFW Post 3348 (Shoreline) holds their VFW Buddy Poppy (red poppies) fundraiser: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. We get permission to utilize three stores in the area on the Friday and Saturday prior to each of the above-named holidays.

Veterans Tiffany Bothell and Ken Christophersen
with Buddy Poppies at the Shoreline Fred Meyer
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

There are two or more VFW Post 3348 members at each store, taking donations for each VFW Buddy Poppy. 

There is no set price --- it is whatever you choose to donate. 

Every dime that is donated goes to help veterans in need.

We recently concluded our 2019 Memorial Day event. 

Discussions about who to donate to are ongoing amongst the Post members.

We made one decision early on because donating to this facility is a perennial favorite --- our donation directly helps veterans. 

That facility is the Shoreline Veterans Center (affiliated with the Compass Housing Alliance) located right across the street (N 200th St) from Costco in Shoreline. 

They permanently house 25 veterans --- yet any veteran can leave when s/he feels prepared and ready to get their own place.

On Friday, June 28, 2019 we presented 25 gift cards ($50 each) to Shree Vigil, Program Manager, Compass Veterans Center – Shoreline. 

Each gift card is in an envelope along with a note from VFW Post 3348 for each veteran who resides there. The envelopes were numbered 1 – 25. The photo above shows Shree on the left and Jennifer Marquette on the right. I am in the middle. Jennifer is the Community Resource Coordinator, Compass Housing Alliance (CHA) --- she is based in their HQ in downtown Seattle but is often at the Shoreline facility. Each woman was given a box of chocolates.

Compass Veterans Center in Shoreline
houses 25 veterans
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

There is at least one CHA employee on site 24/7. The male residents live in a separate area from the female residents. 

No children are allowed but pets are allowed. 

They each have their own room which is connected to the internet. Each room has a bed, nightstand, dresser, closet and desk and chair. The men and women each have their own shared bathroom/shower facilities.

To qualify to live there, each resident most make less than 30% of the median income in Greater Seattle. Right now, that 30% equates to $23,000. Most of the residents have jobs but do not make enough to have their own place, which is why a training facility with computers is in place. Most of them do not have cars.

Bob Ferguson, right, was on the County Council
in 2010 and gave Compass one of the
surplused County vans.

There is one van, given to them in 2010 by King County, to provide transportation but otherwise they use public buses to get to the VA hospital or wherever. If they have income, they pay 33% of their Net. 

There is a common kitchen area. The residents are not provided meals but Shree cooks one meal for them each week; another woman comes once a week and makes another meal for them; yet another patriot drops off a large donation of food once a week. 

So nobody goes hungry. One resident “Dave” said that he uses the $50 for whatever he happens to need at the time e.g. socks, underwear, food, clothes, etc.

Shree told us about one female veteran who showed up, whose apartment had just burnt down. The woman had lost everything --- she came with just the clothes she was wearing. After our prior visit (following our 2018 Veterans Day Buddy Poppy event), Shree had handed this woman a $50 gift card --- the woman teared up (she had not yet thought about what she needed to do) --- her eyes opened wide and she said “oh my, thank you. I have nothing.” It helped a little right then.

The story repeats from each veteran.


Carl ”Chris” Christophersen is the Post Commander for Blackburn-Aurora VFW Post 3348; and the District Commander for VFW District #2, Department of Washington


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