This is one of my family’s favorite holidays.  Besides Christmas and Easter of course and Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.  Maybe I should just say, this is a day that we definitely like to remember.  We do like our donuts.  Taking six people out for donuts can get a bit expensive, so mainly we buy them when they are on sale at the store.  This is one day that my kids get to go to our favorite donut shop (LaMar’s Donuts) and enjoy a fresh, piping hot morsel of deliciousness.

Until reading a small paragraph in a local grocery advertisement, I just assumed that the holiday was created by a donut franchise somewhere who wanted more business.  (Kind of the like the Jimmy John’s Customer Appreciation Day – we like that one too!  Noticing a trend here?  Yes, we like free food! I do have 3 boys after all! 🙂 )

Anyway, enough tangents.  I was quite surprised to discover that there is actually a story behind “National Donut Day.”  And the tale is meaningful one that involves two important organizations: The Salvation Army and our United States military.


Image from Wikipedia

Almost one hundred years ago, across the ocean, soldiers in the French trenches were in need of a morale booster.  So, Salvation Army workers began to serve them coffee and donuts.  (That illustrates a level of bravery that is not normally demonstrated for those passing out pastries!)  Now the workers were not there with that purpose.  Their goal instead was to provide spiritual guidance and a connection with the memories of home.  The donut was a visible symbol to them that someday peace would exist again, and home was not quite as far away as it had been before.

Not until the Great Depression did “National Donut Day” illustrate the page of a calendar.  At this point, the Salvation Army wanted everyone to know about the great work that they were doing in providing service to the community.  In 1937, the world was on the brink of another war.  Our country needed to recognize the importance of working together for a cause.  What a better way to remind everyone of the value of service than by celebrating with donuts?  A visual representation of how many had selflessly taken care of others on battle fields far away just twenty years prior.

This “Donut Day” has continued to be an important holiday  A way to remember all that the Salvation Army has continued to do, for the past three-quarters of a century, to make a difference in other people’s lives.  In fact, I learned all of this information from The Metropolitan Division of the Chicage Salvation Army.  On their website, they have many additional fun and fascinating facts about the history of Donut Day.  This one was very interesting to me.

National Donut Day commemorates the “donut lassies,” female Salvation Army volunteers who provided writing supplies, stamps, clothes-mending and home-cooked meals, and of course, donuts, for soldiers on the front lines.

Here is a short video that you can also watch to learn more.

Now that you know that “National Donut Day” came about due to historical events, you have all the more reason to celebrate.  Many of the bigger national chains are giving away free donuts.  I know that our local grocery stores are giving free donuts to so many customers and then giving out discounted ones as well.  A yummy holiday and a great day to remember those who serve!

P.S. On a more serious  note, today is the anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.  A cause that involved many Americans, including Nebraskans.  I do not believe you can say this word enough to veterans: Thank you!

P.P.S. One our other favorite doughnut places, The Doughnut Hole is having specials and a drawing for free doughnuts tomorrow.  They are also revealing a brand new flavor!  You will want to arrive EARLY – they will sell out!


Author: neodyssey