Salvation Army celebrates history of National Doughnut Day

Published 7:28 pm Monday, June 10, 2019

On Friday we celebrated National Doughnut Day and the goodness of donuts, but did you know that National Doughnut Day actually has its roots in doing good?

“In celebration of National Doughnut Day, the women’s ministry group from The Salvation Army of Washington cooked more than 25 dozen original recipe Salvation Army doughnuts and delivered them to local first responders. Doughnuts were also be available in the Chocowinity and Washington Family Stores,” shared Lieutenant Teresa Bush.

Throughout the day on Friday, The Salvation Army delivered the tasty treats to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Chocowinity Fire/EMS, Washington Fire Stations 1 and 2, the Washington Police Department and the Washington First United Methodist Church childcare. In all, 16 dozen doughnuts and eight dozen doughnut holes were delivered.

The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Donut Day in 1938 to help those in need during the Great Depression and to commemorate the work of the “Donut Lassies,” who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.

In 1917, The Salvation Army began a mission to provide spiritual and emotional support for U.S. soldiers fighting in France during World War I. About 250 Salvation Army volunteers traveled overseas and set up small huts near the front lines where they could give soldiers clothes, supplies and, of course, baked goods.

Despite discovering that serving baked goods would be difficult considering the conditions of the huts and the limited rations, two officers ,Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance, began frying donuts in a small pan. These tasty treats boosted morale and won the hearts of many soldiers.

Nicknamed “Donut Lassies,” the women who served donuts to troops are often credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when troops (nicknamed “doughboys”) returned home from war. The donut now serves as a symbol of the comfort that The Salvation Army provides to those in need, through its many social services programs.

The Salvation Army still serves donuts, in addition to providing warm meals and hydration, to those in need during times of disaster.