However nearly all of the money raised during the 15 day campaign goes right back into the community.
The poppy campaign is run in just about every part of the country, and each legion is responsible for their area. The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #38 is responsible for the southern part of Queens County, while Branch #87 covers the northern half.
Each year in the southern part alone they go through 50 boxes of poppies, says poppy fund chair Lloyd Wolfe, and each box has around 100 poppies in each. The Legions do a short but intense drive to get the poppies to the public. They visit all of the schools to distribute them, with about 1,000 given out to the South Queens schools. The rest are placed in businesses in the area.
No specific amount of money is asked for, just that people contribute anything they can towards the fund. Wolfe says some people save up their money in a change bin, specifically to donate to the poppy fund each year.
Since it is based on donations, the amount raised varies year by year. However last year the poppy campaign raised around $10,000, and after the expenses for the poppies is paid the money goes into the community again.
"What comes from the community, stays in the community," says Legion president Murray Crouse.
The money is placed in a trust fund while the local poppy committee decides where the funds go. There are a few rules the committee goes by to help make their decision. They look at where money went in previous years, to try and spread it around. Perhaps most importantly they find projects that benefit veterans in some way.
In the past they have help veterans or veterans spouses in need of financial help. Other projects have included contributing to the Veterans Wing of Fisherman's Memorial Hospital, which members of the Queens community have used. This year they helped the hospital project, giving money to both the foundation and the Hospital Hustle, among other things.
The money is also used for graduation scholarships at the high school, totaling around $2,500, and scholarships for the Queens County Music Festival.