ALA Poppy Program

The Poppy Program is the oldest and most widely recognized Auxiliary program. Each year around Memorial Day, Auxiliary volunteers distribute millions of bright red crepe paper poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. The program provides multiple benefits to the veterans and to the community. The hospitalized veterans who make the flowers are able to earn a small wage which helps to supplement their incomes and makes them feel more self-sufficient. The physical and mental activity provides many therapeutic benefits as well. Donations are used exclusively to assist and support veterans and their families. The poppy also reminds the community of the past sacrifices and continuing needs of our veterans. Auxiliary members endeavor to explain the true meaning of this little flower to all those who receive it. The poppy has become a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is worn and used by Auxiliary members to honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars

The American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program: Honoring Heroes and Fostering Hope

In the heart of every American lies a deep-seated respect for those who have served their country. This respect is beautifully exemplified through the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program, a longstanding tradition that honors veterans while also making a difference in the lives of those who served. This program, initiated in the aftermath of World War I, has since become a symbol of remembrance, hope, and support for veterans.

The red poppy flower holds a special place in the program’s history. Inspired by the famous war poem “In Flanders Fields,” it was chosen as a symbol to remember the sacrifices made by soldiers. The American Legion Auxiliary distributes these red crepe paper poppies every year around Memorial Day and Veterans Day. These poppies serve as a poignant reminder of the valor and bravery exhibited by our servicemen and women.

More than just a symbol, the Poppy Program also serves a charitable purpose. The donations received through the distribution of poppies go directly toward supporting veterans and their families. This financial aid can assist with medical expenses, rehabilitation, and various other forms of assistance, ensuring that veterans receive the care and support they deserve.

The Poppy Program doesn’t just honor veterans; it also fosters a sense of unity and remembrance in communities across the nation. It encourages conversations about the sacrifices made by veterans and the importance of remembering their service.

In conclusion, the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program is a beautiful and impactful tradition that combines remembrance, support, and community engagement. By wearing and distributing poppies, we not only pay tribute to the brave individuals who have defended our country but also actively contribute to the welfare of veterans and their families. It’s a small flower with a big impact, serving as a constant reminder of the debt of gratitude we owe to our heroes.

Get Involved

Purpose: The purpose of the Poppy Committee is to educate ALA membership and the public on the significance of the poppy and the program’s financial benefit for veterans, military, and their families. Standing Rules #6, National Committees – Mission Outreach

Promote the Poppy Program and increase revenue.

  • Wear a poppy to promote conversation and interest.
  • Educate your community about how funds collected help veterans, servicemembers, and their families.
  • Contact local businesses for permission to distribute poppies on their premises. Make sure you have permission for liability purposes; in some instances, permits are required.
  • Send a thank you to businesses that allow distribution. Consider using the Poppy Poster thank you cards, available for purchase through Emblem Sales, for your communication.
  • Organize a department poppy drive with The American Legion Family. Encourage The American Legion, Sons of The American Legion, Legion Riders, and ALA Junior members to join poppy distributions in your community.

Educate your community on the meaning and history of the poppy.

  • Using the image and story of the Flanders Field poppy to educate people about the sacrifices of our military servicemembers helps us raise awareness of the Legion Family and connects us to our mission in the eyes of the public.
  • Promote the ALA Poppy Poster Contest in your local schools and youth groups.
  • Promote the Little Miss Poppy Contest to Juniors in your unit.
  • Offer to speak at local civic engagements about the meaning and significance of the poppy and how Poppy Funds help veterans, servicemembers, and their families.

Celebrate National Poppy Day

  • Wear a red poppy all day and tell everyone why.
  • Distribute poppies to friends, co-workers and family and tell everyone why.
  • Tell the story on Facebook of who you are wearing your poppy to remember or support on National Poppy Day®. Don’t forget to tag us! #PoppyDay #LegionFamily
  • Accept a poppy and donate if you see a member of The American Legion Family in your neighborhood distributing poppies.
  • Distribute National Poppy Day material and make it available to members.
  • Organize a poppy distribution at local Memorial Day Ceremonies. Make sure to wear your Auxiliary branded apparel to help tell everyone who you are.
  • Invite a local dignitary to lay a poppy wreath at a memorial in your community and invite unit members to be present. Consider singing patriotic songs or other ways to involve your unit members.
  • Contact local legislative offices to announce poppy distribution days, and request proclamations declaring Poppy Days in your community. (Please see Poppy Day Resources above for more information).
  • For more information and resources, visit

Increase the number of poppy makers in your community.

  • Set up meetings with recreational and occupational therapists at local U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers (VAMCs), Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), or community hospitals to incorporate poppy-making into their therapy programs.
  • Distribute “How to Recruit New Poppy Makers” promotion information.
  • Partner with The American Legion to recruit poppy makers within their post homes and departments.
  • Post information on “How Veterans Can Make Money by Making Poppies” in local VA homes, medical centers, clinics, nursing homes, and other community organizations that house and care for veterans.

Deadlines/Important Dates

  • Department Chairman Report due to National Committee: May 15
  • Department and Unit Award Nomination Form Completed and Submitted: June 1

Consider using your poppy funds to support one of the American Legion Auxiliary’s partners: 

Contact our Poppy Chair: