Donna Ralston
2021-2022 “Buddy”® Poppy & National Home Ambassador

Buddy Poppy_National Home_Donna Ralston_Square_Web

“Buddy”® Poppy Drive ideas


  • Invite the public to a drive-by “Buddy”® Poppy Day celebration at your VFW post home to include balloons and patriotic-themed giveaways.



  • Add to a worldwide virtual “Buddy”® Poppy garden on Instagram by posting poppy images and using the hashtag #buddypoppy.


  • Make “Buddy”® Poppy cookies and sell them at your Post or during other events. You can also just use a sugar cookie recipe. Invite your local youth groups to help make the cookies!



½ cup butter, at room temperature

¾ cup icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

2 cups flour, plus more for rolling the dough

½ teaspoon salt


Decorating the Cookies

4 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Red and black food coloring

Poppy seeds, for sprinkling



  • Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and juice until combined. Beat in flour, salt, and poppy seeds. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Add ½ cup butter,¾ cup icing sugar,1 teaspoon vanilla extract,1 ½ tablespoons finely grated lemon zest,2 tablespoons lemon juice,2 cups flour,½ teaspoon salt,1 tablespoon poppy seeds to the dough.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using 2 or three different size cookie cutters. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until the edges just start to brown, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.


Make frosting:

Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice in a medium-size bowl. Add more lemon juice if too thick or more icing sugar if too thin. Tint a large portion red, a small portion black, and leave the remaining white.



Trace an outline around the cookie with the red icing, following the poppy shape. Pipe a dot of icing into each of the petals and feather to cover each petal. Immediately make a circle with small dots in the middle with the white icing. Using a toothpick draw the white icing to the edges of the poppy. Once the icing is set, pipe a large white dot in the center of each cookie. Once the dot is set, pipe a black line around the dot and immediately sprinkle with poppy seeds. Allow the frosting to set completely before storing.


Place in 2” x 2” cellophane bag, fold over and staple to a story of the “Buddy”® Poppy Brochure. Here is the link:


Now it’s time to put on a big smile and talk about the work you are doing to benefit veterans, active-duty military and their families.