The Salvation Army first celebrated National Doughnut Day it in 1938 in the city of Chicago as a way to honor Salvation Army “doughnut lassies” from World War I. The special day also served as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to the Army’s social service programs during the Great Depression.
Approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance to American soldiers in France starting in 1917 during World War I. The Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission who concluded that “huts” serving baked goods, providing writing supplies and stamps, and a clothes-mending service, would serve the needs of US enlisted men. Six staff members per hut should include four female volunteers who could “mother” the boys.
Because of the difficulties of providing freshly-baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts. These are reported to have been an “instant hit”, and “soon many soldiers were visiting Salvation Army huts”. Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day “Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee.”
The doughnuts became an instant hit that was brought back to America by returning “doughboys.”
Happy National Doughnut Day!
Staff at Texas DHQ enjoying National Donut Day