Turlock may not be Flanders Field, the former World War I battlefield made famous by John McCrea’s poem, but the poppies most certainly will blow. In fact, thousands of crêpe paper poppies, each hand-made by a hospitalized or disabled veteran, have made their way to Turlock and the American Legion Auxiliary this year in preparation for poppy week, during which members of the ALA, Sons of the American Legion and local Boy Scout troops will work to raise money for those hospitalized and disabled veterans by distributing the flowers.
The ALA, a patriotic women’s organization focusing on volunteerism for veterans, young people, and the community, has been engaged in the poppy program every year since 1918.
Each nine-piece poppy the ALA gives out is hand-made by a disabled or hospitalized veteran, who is paid a small amount for each flower. For some veterans, this labor-intensive activity represents not only their sole source of income, but also a relaxing activity to help pass the time.
The ALA provides the raw materials for the poppies and then purchases the completed flowers from the veterans. The organization then distributes the paper poppies, never asking for any form of payment, but merely accepting donations.
The ALA, Sons of the American Legion and local Boy Scouts will be distributing poppies from 9 a.m. to noon today at the Turlock Irrigation District office on Canal Drive, the U.S. Post Office on Main Street, Village Market on Canal Drive, Walmart on Fulkerth Road, and Savemart, Raley’s, CitiBank, F&M Bank all on Geer Road.