In 1922, the VFW was the first veterans’ organization to organize a nationwide distribution. The poppy soon was adopted as the official memorial flower of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, as it remains today.
During the 1923 encampment, it was decided that VFW “Buddy Poppies” would be assembled by disabled and needy veterans who would be paid for their work to provide them with financial assistance. In 1924 the name Buddy Poppy was registered with the U.S. Patent Office and all trademark rights were granted the VFW in the name of Buddy under the classification of artificial flowers. The VFW made that trademark a guarantee that all poppies bearing that name and the VFW label are genuine products of the work of disabled and needy veterans. No other organization, firm or individual can legally use the name Buddy Poppy.
Donations received from “Buddy Poppies” drives are used entirely to fund our Veterans Assistance Programs. For more than 75 years, the VFW’s Buddy Poppy program has raised millions of dollars in support of veterans’ welfare and the well being of their dependents. VFW Buddy Poppies are entirely assembled by disabled and needy veterans in VA Hospitals. The minimal assessment (cost of Buddy Poppies) to VFW units provides compensation to the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation’s veterans.