National Doughnut Day, held on the first Friday of June, celebrates the power of a doughnut and honours the Salvation Army “Lassies” who served them to soldiers during the First World War.

In 1917, the original “Salvation Army Doughnut” was first provided by the ladies of The Salvation Army who volunteered on the front lines of war in Europe. The doughnuts were often cooked in oil inside the helmets of American soldiers.

The Salvation Army had concluded that the morale of the United States soldiers could be improved by canteens/social centres termed “huts.” At the huts, baked goods, writing supplies and stamps, and a clothes-mending service were provided. Because of the difficulties in supplying freshly-baked goods from huts established in abandoned buildings near the front lines, Salvation Army volunteers came up with the idea of providing doughnuts.

Before long, many soldiers were visiting Salvation Army huts as the doughnuts were an instant hit. Soon, the women who made the sweet treats became known as the “Doughnut Lassies.”

In 1938 National Doughnut Day started as a fundraiser for Chicago’s Salvation Army. Their goal was to help those in need during the Great Depression and honour the “Lassies” of the First World War. Today, the doughnut represents the wide-range of social services, such as shelter, meals, emergency disaster relief, addiction rehabilitation and life-skills development, which The Salvation Army provides.

On June 3, we encourage you to enjoy a sweet treat to not only honour the “Lassies” of the past but the heroes on the front lines of the present.

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