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. Approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers traveled overseas and set up small huts located near the front lines where clothes, supplies and baked goods were provided to soldiers.
National Doughnut Day was established by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor The Salvation Army’s “Doughnut Lassies”who served the treats to soldiers during World War I.
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 doughnuts in a small fry pan. These tasty treats boosted morale and won the hearts of many soldiers. Nicknamed “Doughnut Lassies,”the women who served doughnuts to troops are often credited with popularizing the doughnut in the United States when the troops (nicknamed “doughboys”) returned home from war.
The doughnut 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 doughnuts, in addition to warm meals and hydration, to those in need during times of disaster. To donate to The Salvation Army for this special occasion, text "doughnutday" to 41444 or go here.
National Doughnut Day occurs on the first Friday of June each year. This year marks one hundred years since the work of the original Doughnut Lassies. On Friday, June 2, shops around the country will participate in the day by giving away free doughnuts and supporting The Salvation Army. Supporters are encouraged to share a picture of themselves enjoying a doughnut using #GivingIsSweet.