Facebook feeds have been populated with the latest Pinterest-style campaign to sell poppy pin centres to secure your poppy this year. The legion headquarters have called this defacing the trademarked symbol. I am in full support of their stance, but not necessarily on the reason that it defaces the poppy.
I paid a paper bill for a sticker poppy this year (thanks to a challenge by Chris Labossiere to put more than spare change for donation). The point of having disposable poppies is that we make an effort not only as a gesture, but it’s also an active donation to the legions it supports. It’s not about whether it’s worth it or not for the piece of paper stuck on my jacket for a week; it’s about giving to the veterans who also recognize those who died for this country.
Those poppy pin centres are more expensive to produce, do not contribute to the legions and veterans, and will add to lost pins and waste of metals. On top of that, someone is making a profit off of them and there’s no promise that those point of sales would even donate what proceeds there would be to the poppy campaign. Yes, there are a few legions in Calgary selling the pin centres, but they incur a considerable cost which cannot be done across the country, let alone approved by legion headquarters.
I’ve also heard people say that they’ll get the pin and still donate. While I applaud that intention, the truth is most people won’t make that effort. I’ve only come across two poppy points of sale this year, and the second time, I had no change in my pocket to donate. If I had not donated earlier, would I make the drive to a legion to make a donation? Likely not.
There are ways to put poppies to secure it (which also may deface the poppy), including pushing the pin back into the end of the poppy. You can also secure the end on the inside of your collar with a piece of eraser or tape. If you really want to secure it with a pin, use any push-pin style pin and tape the black centre over your pin, and put the $3 directly into the donation box without the middle man.
If you really don’t want the original poppy, the poppy sales locations at malls have legion-approved options this year. Use the sticker ones (which I opted for), wear a wristband, get one of the bookmarks. Some MPs who were sworn into the cabinet wore sticker poppies as well. Canada has finally warmed to the sticker poppies and they have been legion-approved but disappear quickly. Charitable donation stickers are used around the world for street canvassers. All year round in many places, charity volunteers sell stickers for donations. Donors have a sticker to show they supported a cause that day, and it fades away harmlessly. It’s cheap to produce which means more of the donation would go to the cause.
Remember, a scratch is nothing compared to the battlefield the soldiers had to fight. A little discomfort for a few days won’t hurt.