Hooray for National Donut Day!
An American Tradition Since 1938
During World War I, approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance to our American soldiers fighting on the front lines in France starting in 1917.
As the young soldiers faced physical and emotional peril amidst the fighting, female Salvation Army officers Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance had the idea to comfort them with good home cooking, using their limited ingredients to fry up in helmets delicious doughnuts for the boys.
These women, earning the nickname “Doughnut Lassies” and “Doughnut Girls,” served countless treats to grateful soldiers, traversing through the trenches to bring the men doughnuts and coffee. More than just filling an empty stomach, these doughnuts and the joyful presence of the women who worked so hard to make them provided the soldiers with the boost their spirits needed during an extraordinarily difficult time.
The doughnuts became an instant hit that was brought back to America by returning “doughboys.”
The Salvation Army celebrated the first National Doughnut Day in 1938 in the city of Chicago as a way to honor Salvation Army “doughnut lassies” from World War I. They started the Day as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to the Army’s social service programs during the Great Depression.
And today, 73 years later, we continue that tradition to help raise awareness for the critical services we provide to 30 million Americans in need each year!
Did you know?
Americans were introduced to donuts
by Salvation Army Officers in 1917!