Contributed by Dennis Skupinski of Michigan's WWI Centennial Project
During World War One, Salvation Army workers were in the fighting zones of France. Approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers were there primarily to give spiritual aid and comfort to the American soldier. They were there to be a link with home and family.
Salvation Army volunteers sought to boost soldiers' morale with food. They started out by baking pies but found that baking pies in the trenches was impractical. The Salvation Army's Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance of Indiana cleverly thought of frying doughnuts in soldiers' helmets at first. Later they began frying them on camp stoves, seven at a time. The Salvation Army provided writing supplies, stamps, clothes-mending and home-cooked meals, and of course, doughnuts, to the soldiers on the front lines.
National Doughnut Day commemorates the "doughnut lassies," who provided assistance to American soldiers in France during World War One.
The Salvation Army started National Doughnut Day during the Great Depression (1938) as a way to raise funds and remind the soldiers of the Great War of the Salvation Army's social service programs.
Last year, 30 million Americans received assistance from the Salvation Army's 3,600 officers, 60,000 employees, and 3.4 million volunteers.
Celebrate National Doughnut Day by:
- Enjoying a doughnut (Forget those calories today!)
- Donating to the Salvation Army
- Learning more about the Doughnut Lassies and Michigan's WWI Centennial by viewing our video: