American Legion Auxiliary member Amanda Engels has begun making poppy-themed jewelry at her home as a fundraiser for veterans. Engels and Sandy Josephson are organizing the fundraiser and upcoming workshops.


Auxiliary selling poppy-beaded jewelry as fundraiser to support veterans

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 199 will be observing Veterans Day with a unique "Elevate the Poppy" with a Make and/or Take Jewelry fundraiser with proceeds going directly to assist veterans in local communities and disabled hospitalized veterans.
Veterans Day will be observed on Wednesday, Nov. 11. Although the annual indoor program in Minneota will not be held this year, there will be an observance and dedication of two new military statues recently placed in Veterans Park.
The "Elevate the Poppy" project was the idea of Auxiliary member Amanda Engels, who is also organizing the event along with Sandy Josephson, also an Auxiliary member.
"A veterans program at school isn't a good idea this year, but we still need to remember our veterans and what they have done for us," said Engels. "I get notices on Facebook and e-mails from the Auxiliary and I thought perhaps I could come up with a fun reminder to honor veterans for those in our community."
The jewelry fundraiser will consist of three options that maintain social distancing and follow COVID safety guidelines: (1) Kits can be mailed for individuals to assemble poppy-themed earrings at home using your own tools and creativity .... (2) Ready to wear poppy-themed earrings and bracelets that can be mailed out or picked up. Engels will construct the jewelry for you to wear proudly or give as a gift ... (3) Make and Take workshop with masks worn. Materials, tools and assistance will be available at the classes held in the Legion downstairs meeting room. Additional beads and materials will be available to purchase.
Earring pairs pre-made or in a make-at-home kit are $10. Bracelets pre-made or in a home kit are $15. Styles to choose from will be Red Poppy with a White and Blue theme, Yellow and Red Poppy Theme, or Red Poppy and Black Theme."I love making gifts and beading," said Engels. "I order most of my beads online from Fire Mountain Gems because they give back to lots of charities and they don't use child labor in the production of their gemstones. They get beads and components from all over the world from reputable makers. I can safely order parts that are lead free."
The Legion Auxiliary generally promotes the poppy as a symbol of the sacrifice our military have made, and as a symbol to open people's hearts and inspire them to donate in order to support and assist veterans.
Wearing a poppy is a tradition that dates back to the American Legion Auxiliary's first National Convention in the early 1920s when the red poppy was adopted as the American Legion Family's memorial flower. Today, it remains an iconic symbol of honor for the sacrifice of our veterans.
This year's annual event of handing out poppies to those who donate to the veterans was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic. Engels and Josephson spearhead the local poppy donations.
"Sandy and I have promised to bring more events to the community when we hosted the post painting and I have been looking for project ever since,” Engels explained. "I wanted to do something safe and healthy so that is where the pre-made and mailable kits come into the project."
Kits and pre-made jewelry are available until Nov. 30. Current members or those who renew memberships will get an extra perk with their kit/order.
"I would love nothing better than to sit down and make 50 pairs of unique poppy earrings and dozens of bracelets to mail out in honor of veterans," said Engels.
For further information or to order a pre-made item or kit, call Sandy at 507-872-6706 or email

Auxiliary workshop dates
The American Legion Auxiliary "Elevate the Poppy" Make-and-Take fundraiser workshop for Friday, Nov. 6 has been cancelled.

The workshops will be held Thursday, Nov. 12 and Thursday, Nov. 19, both at 6 p.m., in the Legion basement.

For further information or to order a pre-made item or kit, call Sandy at 507-872-6706 or email

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