Ever since 1938, The Salvation Army has been celebrating our doughnut-making heritage on the first Friday of June.

The celebration began in Chicago as a way to pay homage to the young women who fed and fueled soldiers during WWI and WWII with hand-made doughnuts.

Evangeline Booth, daughter of Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth, sent volunteers called “Lassies” to the battlefields of France in 1917. Making doughnuts became a way for the Lassies to comfort soldiers with a cheerful smile and a tasty treat.

Often, the Lassies had to improvise with only what they had on hand. Their helmets became deep fryers, spent artillery shells were used as doughnut cutters, and empty wine bottles did double duty as rolling pins!

When soldiers came back to the US after their service abroad, many longed for the doughnuts they ate during wartime. The only problem was that doughnuts were virtually unknown here at home. Over time, bakeries began responding to requests and doughnuts were finally on menus all over the United States.

:: Click here to learn more about The Salvation Army’s sweet role in doughnut history.

Help us honor the doughnut-making Lassies by enjoying a hot, delicious treat this Friday. Here are some extra-special ways to participate in the Western US:

>> Drop of your gently-used clothing and household goods on Friday, June 3 at a Salvation Army Family Store in the Phoenix, AZ area and get a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts! Click here for more information.

>> BakeMark, a major supplier of bakery products and ingredients to independent doughnut shops, is making a $10,000 gift to support The Salvation Army’s Haven shelter, a program for veterans at-risk for homelessness. Bakemark will join us for Doughnut Day festivities at 7:00 AM on Friday, June 3 at the Haven, located on the campus of the West LA Veteran Administration. Click here for a list of Bakemark-affiliated doughnut shops.

>> At 7:30PM on Wednesday, June 1, KCET-TV’s Huell Howser will feature an episode about The Salvation Army’s doughnut history on his award-winning show called California’s Gold. Click here for air dates and times outside of the Los Angeles area.

:: Click here and here for photos of National Doughnut Day celebrations.

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