National Poppy Day: Help meet essential needs of veterans and military families

(BPT) - For many Americans, a run to the grocery store is a simple task. You quickly grab items off the shelf with the next week of meals in mind. By the time you get up to the checkout counter, your cart is full of essentials and you swipe your card without a second thought. But for many others, purchasing the essentials is difficult and anxiety-inducing. People experiencing food insecurity don’t have reliable access to items that are affordable or nutritious enough, and instead of exploring each aisle, they are often forced to search the store for select items that can be covered in a too-tight budget.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s estimated that the percentage of American households experiencing food insecurity increased from 10.5% to 23%1. Due to low salaries, spousal unemployment or high living expenses, junior active-duty servicemembers are at a high risk for food insecurity with 14% of surveyed servicemembers reporting an experience with food insecurity in 20202 — leaving many Americans asking, “How can we help military members in this situation?”

National Poppy Day® is Friday, May 28. Every year, The American Legion Family distributes poppies in exchange for monetary donations that help meet the essential needs of veterans, active military servicemembers and their families. The poppy has been recognized as the memorial flower for The American Legion Family since the early 1920s, and with food insecurity being a core challenge for active-duty servicemembers, the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) is focusing their Poppy Day efforts on mitigating food insecurity. The funds from poppy distribution events may be used to buy food and other essentials including gas, diapers, baby formula, school supplies and medicine. The goal is to help give back a measure of security and comfort to those who have given so much to our country.

Here’s how you can help make a difference for veterans, active servicemembers and military families in your area this year:

  • Donate in exchange for a poppy
  • Wear a poppy to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and help create awareness of issues that impact military servicemembers
  • Share social media posts from @ALAforVeterans
  • Use hashtags #NationalPoppyDay #AmericanLegionAuxiliary #LegionFamily
  • Watch the virtual National Poppy Day program May 28 on Facebook @ALAforVeterans

Our brave servicemembers have protected our freedoms throughout the years. This National Poppy Day, help us protect their right to lead happy, healthy and secure lives. For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.

Sources:

  1. Silva, C. (2020, September 27). Food insecurity in The U.S. by the numbers. Retrieved May 03, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2020/09/27/912486921/food-insecurity-in-the-u-s-by-the-numbers
  2. 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey (2021). Retrieved May 3, 2021, from Blue Star Families https://bluestarfam.org/wpcontent/uploads/2021/03/BSF_MFLS_Comp_Infographic_2020.pdf

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