This year, June 1st is National Donut Day! What first began in 1938 as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army, is now celebrated on the first Friday of June every year to celebrate more than just donuts. The holiday was created to honor female volunteers who were behind the front lines in World War I serving donuts to soldiers.
As the story goes, soon after the United States entered into World War I in 1917, the Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to France. They concluded that the needs of American enlisted men could be met by canteens/social centers termed "huts" that could serve baked goods, provide writing supplies and stamps, and provide a clothes-mending service.
About 250 Salvation Army volunteers went to France. Because of the difficulties of providing freshly baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near to the front lines, the two Salvation Army volunteers (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of providing doughnuts.
These are reported to have been an "instant hit", and "soon many soldiers were visiting The Salvation Army huts". Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day: "Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee." Soon, the women who did this work became known by the servicemen as "Doughnut Dollies."
- Among other things, a number of donut shops – Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts – are offering free donuts today. See our coverage of the National Donut Day freebies in our Food News section or by clicking HERE.