National Donut Day is celebrated each year on the first Friday of June, to commemorate World War 1 Salvation Army volunteer ‘Donut Lassies’ who brought the recipe back to America after serving soldiers on the front lines in Europe.
During World War 1, starting in 1917, approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers aided American soldiers fighting on the front lines in France. As the young soldiers faced physical and emotional peril amidst the fighting, female officers Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance had the idea to comfort them with delightful 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. When the doughboys returned home to America, so did the recipe.
The Salvation Army first observed the first 'National Doughnut Day' in 1938, in Chicago, as a tribute to its doughnut lassies from World War I. The day was created to raise funds and raise awareness for the Army's social service programs during the Great Depression.
And today, over one hundred years later, The Salvation Army continues the tradition to help raise awareness for the critical services it provides to thirty million Americans in need each year!