Volunteer to Help Vets Through Buddy Poppy Program
Stacy McDade, and son, Brayden, helped at Buddy Poppy event at Carolina Cafe and Bakery in Raleigh. Behind her, from left, are Sam Rule, Amy Sullivan and Phyllis Bannard.
Courtesy of Stacy McDade
Would you like to start early to teach your young child about helping others? The Veterans of Foreign Wars Buddy Poppy program is a wonderful way for people of all ages to volunteer to honor veterans.
My grandfather, a WWII veteran who proudly served our country and was a mentor to men and women in the military, first explained the special meaning of Buddy Poppy to me many years ago. More recently, I did the same for my 5-year-old son, Brayden.
The Buddy Poppy is the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. I remember my grandfather telling me the VFW's motto, which is "honor the dead by helping the living." All VFW Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals. The VFW Buddy Poppy Program helps veterans and their families in many important ways, such as by giving support for the VFW National Home for Children and providing financial help for many veterans programs. Another great benefit is that poppy assembly can be therapeutic for veterans as they exercise fingers and hands crippled by wounds, the effects of old age and disease.
As the Buddy Poppy Chairperson of VFW Post 7383 in Cary, I have helped at the many different Buddy Poppy Events throughout the year. Brayden, my mom, and my grandma distributed Buddy Poppies to people in the community and explained to them about their special meaning. Many children and young adults had said they had seen Buddy Poppies but didn't know about their special meaning. It was a great learning experience for them. I found it very special when veterans who saw the Buddy Poppies and immediately knew their meaning were very happy to take one. My grandpa used to always wear his Buddy Poppy proudly.
Shortly before Brayden's great grandfather passed away, he asked me to give a Buddy Poppy to Brayden, when he would be old enough to understand about it. I promised my grandfather I would do so and now, years after my Grandpa passed away, it is Brayden who helps distribute Buddy Poppies during VFW Buddy Poppy events, proudly wears a Buddy Poppy at VFW events and understands about their special meaning.
Please contact your local veterans organization to find out about local Buddy Poppy events in your community and ways you can help. Please also tell a friend about the program so more veterans can be helped.
Find more ways to give back and volunteer, in our roundup of Volunteer and Community Service Opportunities in the Triangle.