Bite Into the Deeper Meaning of National Donut Day

Jun 1, 2021

This Friday, June 4, marks The Salvation Army’s annual Donut Day, which has been celebrated since 1938. To commemorate this year, The Salvation Army of Kent County will spend the morning personally delivering over 35 dozen donuts to the Grand Rapids and Wyoming Police Departments, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Rapids Fire Departments, and AMR and Life EMS ambulance services as a small way to thank them for their work in the community.

“We look forward to Donut Day every year,” said Major Glen Caddy, Divisional Commander. “Not only is it a reason to enjoy a treat, but it brings to light The Salvation Army’s long history of service. First responders are always on the clock supporting our community and we’d like to recognize and honor them for their contributions.”

The first Friday in June every year is reserved for Americans to revel in the gooey goodness of donuts. But many are not aware that National Donut Day has its roots in doing good. This sweet tradition dates 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 Donut Lassies fried donuts in small pans, or helmets if pans were not available, and 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 help those in need during the Great Depression and to honor the work of the Donut Lassies.

The donut now serves as a symbol of the comfort that The Salvation Army provides to those in need through its many social services programs. The Salvation Army still serves donuts, in addition to warm meals and hydration, to those in need during times of disaster. 

The Salvation Army of Kent County has continued to serve year-round since first being organized in 1883 and in 2020 alone, provided critical services to nearly 30,000 individuals. Kent County’s net of programs and services is expansive and includes those that supply emergency food assistance, offer housing resources and energy bill assistance, support those struggling with substance use disorder through the Adult Rehabilitation Center and Turning Point Programs, provide programs that impact people of all ages at the Kroc Center and Fulton Heights Corps, and support disaster victims every time catastrophe strikes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all programs and services have adapted to ensure the increased needs of families and individuals are met. 


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