The Salvation Army Central Territory is celebrating Donut Day on Monday, June 3

May 29, 2024

Every area of the world offers a form of sweetened, fried dough — in South America, churros are a specialty in Mexico and buñuelos come from Colombia; European delights include loukoumades in Greece or sonhos in Portugal; Middle Eastern confections include sufganiya in Israel and tulumba in Turkey; while in Asia, one can taste “an” in Japan or gulab jamun in India; varieties from Africa include sfenj in the north and koeksisters in South Africa; in Australia, people nibble on kitchener buns; and unique varieties here in North America include beignets from New Orleans and persians in Ontario, Canada.

The American donut has a special connection to the Salvation Army; in fact, The Salvation Army started National Donut Day in 1938 to commemorate the work of the “Donut Lassies.” This was a group of female Salvation Army volunteers who earned their nickname by serving coffee and donuts to American soldiers battling on the frontlines of World War I.

These innovative young women made and served thousands of donuts a day for U.S. troops, using whatever was on hand to create the sweet treats. Empty wine bottles became rolling pins, tin cans were used to cut the dough into round shapes and helmets often became cooking vessels. In addition to frying donuts, the women supported the troops by praying with them, assisting them with writing letters, mending their clothes and more.

Upon their return from war, many soldiers remembered the kindness of these “Donut Lassies,” and their serving of sweet treats has been credited with popularizing the consumption of donuts — one of the most-eaten breakfast items in the U.S. today.

More than 100 years ago, The Salvation Army provided hope and comfort to U.S. soldiers by providing them with a sweet fried treat among other services; today, The Salvation Army continues to provide hope and help to those in need. With the recent bouts of tornadoes and heavy storms throughout Nebraska and Iowa, The Salvation Army has served alongside those who are suffering — offering hydration, cleanup kits, material assistance and emergency shelter. Those who are hungry can come to The Salvation Army canteens and relief stations for food — including donuts.



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