"It helps guys who are first time to the home and haven't gotten a check yet. It helps them survive until they get a check," said Williams.
Also, he said the money earned by assembling the flowers isn't counted as income by the Veterans Home.
In turn, they know the money raised by distributing their poppies goes into programs to help veterans.
Paulette Anderson listed some of the programs the American Legion Auxiliary does each year. She is state president of the auxiliary, which she said has 67 units and about 7,900 members in West Virginia.
Last year, members collected and took to their midwinter conference more than 10,000 comfort items. The items range from toothpaste and socks to fishing poles and coffee pots. Staff from the Veterans Home and from each of the four VA hospitals in West Virginia pick out what their residents and patients need.
Every December, the auxiliary has a Christmas gift shop at the four hospitals. The auxiliary buys gifts for hospitalized veterans and their immediate family. "We pick out a gift for the wife, mother or child. We wrap and deliver it, or mail it or take it to their room," Anderson said.
The group also throws monthly "cheer" parties for the veterans at the home and hospitals.
Anderson has been in the auxiliary for 24 years. She used to go with her husband to the Legion Club, where an auxiliary member talked to her about attending a meeting. Within six months, she was deeply involved.
"It's really more than going to a bar. We are for veterans," she said.
The VFW uses the donations from poppy drives to support veterans rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of veterans.
"It's helping them as well as them helping us," Williams said.
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.