History Behind National Donut Day

Donut Day History

Entenmann’s Bakery, a division of Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU), has partnered with The Salvation Army for National Donut Day, this year celebrated on June 5, 2015. To recognize the holiday, originally founded by The Salvation Army to honor those in military service, Entenmann’s will be featuring a new Rich Frosted Patriotic Donut Eight Pack, and a “National Donut Day Free Donuts for a Year” Facebook sweepstakes, all to commemorate the men and women serving, and who have served our country.

This year, in Southern New England, Entenmann's will be partnering with our Providence, Bridgeport, and New London locations. Bristol and Hartford will also be celebrating with donut-related events. Please click here for more details on the events planned for 2015.

The 78th Annual National Donut Day will be celebrated Friday, June 5th, 2015. The holiday, on the first Friday of June, was established by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the Army’s “Donut Lassies,” who served these treats to soldiers during World War I. This significant occasion established the donut as a long-standing symbol of the services The Salvation Army continues to provide.

“National Donut Day has become a true American tradition, in which The Salvation Army asks the general public to remember those who fought in World War I, as well as their neighbors who may have fallen on hard times,” said Major Dave Champlin, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Southern New England Division. “So when you enjoy a tasty donut this year, we ask everyone to consider giving back to support their local area.”

The Salvation Army celebrated the first National Donut Day in Chicago in 1938 to help raise needed funds during the Great Depression and commemorate the work of the “Donut Lassies” who fed the tasty confection to American soldiers and made the donut what it is today.

The donuts became synonymous with The Salvation Army, as well as the American soldiers who were returning home with the nickname, “doughboys.” Today, The Salvation Army continues to provide meals, including donuts, and numerous other services, to clients who visit their programs daily.

Donuts and The Salvation Army... A Long History Together!

Ever since World War I, The Salvation Army and donuts have shared a common heritage. In 1917, after 36 days of steady rain, Ensign Helen Purviance and Adjutant Margaret Sheldon decided that the boys needed some real home cooking, “but supplies had run out and were difficult to buy locally.” The only things they could purchase were flour, sugar, lard, baking powder, cinnamon, and canned milk. “What about pancakes?” “No good cold, or without syrup.” The first doughnuts were patted out by hand. A small wood fire was coaxed in a low, pot-bellied stove. A frying pan was used and the first donuts were fried “seven at a time.” The tempting fragrance of frying donuts drew the homesick soldiers to the hut, and they lined up in the rain, waiting for a taste. The word went around. “If you’re hungry and broke, you can get something to eat at The Salvation Army.”