The Salvation Army Celebrates the True Meaning of National Donut Day

Salvation Army USA Troops receive donuts in an undated photograph from World War One

Many Americans don’t know that National Donut Day actually has its roots in doing good. Celebrated on the first Friday in June, this sweet tradition dates back to World War I, when nearly 250 Salvation Army volunteers known as “Donut Lassies” traveled overseas to provide emotional and spiritual support as well as fried confections, supplies, and other services to troops on the front lines.

The original donuts were fried in small pans on the front lines, and the Lassies are credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when troops returned home from war. The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Donut Day in 1938 to commemorate their work and help those in need during the Great Depression.

That same spirit of service continues to this day. For more than a century the organization has provided a wide range of essential services like food, shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to the most vulnerable and to the men and women serving on the front lines of need.

“Whether glazed or cake, and whatever the toppings, donuts represent our long history of providing hope and comfort – from our volunteers in the trenches of war to our continued service on the front lines of need,” said Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, National Commander of The Salvation Army. “Knowing that National Donut Day has its roots in the ‘fight for good’ makes these treats taste even sweeter.”