In 1938, the first-ever National Donut Day was took place in Chicago, celebrating The Salvation Army’s Donut Lassies who were sent to France in 1917 to establish field bases near the front lines. There, soldiers could stock up on essential goods and get a treat provided by the lassies.

Two volunteers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance, began frying donuts in soldiers’ helmets. They brought hope and happiness to the battlefield, and a much-needed boost for US soldiers.

The “Donut Lassies” are often credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when the troops came back from fighting in Europe. Over a hundred years later, The Salvation Army is still serving on the front lines, now through a wide range of social services for the most vulnerable Americans.

In celebration of this year’s National Donut Day on Friday, June 4, The Salvation Army is activating in locations across the country:

  • Austin, Texas – Partnering with H-E-B grocery stores to deliver donuts to first responders, frontline workers, and others in need of a sweet surprise.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio – Making a special delivery to the Veteran’s Hospital and encouraging the public to go purchase a dozen donuts from their favorite bakery, share it with someone special (friends, family, hometown hero), and post it to social while mentioning #NationalDonutDay.
  • Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware – GIANT and Martin’s grocery stores will give $0.50 to The Salvation Army for every dozen donuts sold on Donut Day. The Salvation Army is also partnering with the app Shareity to facilitate their multiple “Take A Bite, Share The Delight” activations on National Donut Day that are meant to increase awareness of The Salvation Army’s role in its creation and engage more people in their work.
  • Lynchburg, Virginia – Delivering donuts to first responders, active military, fire fighters and police officers thanking them for their service on the front lines of need.
  • Maryland – Partnering with local bakers to presell specialty donuts during the month of May. Orders will be fulfilled on National Donut Day with proceeds and donations to the campaign going to support local programs.
  • Roanoke, Virginia – Celebrating from June 1-5 by partnering with a local community beautification organization called I HEART SE for a clean-up event, and participating in Humble Hustle’s “Chalk Up The City with Love” to encourage the public to write messages of love with chalk throughout the city of Roanoke, including around The Salvation Army’s local corps.
  • Chicago, Illinois – Partnering with Clyde's Donuts, to not only celebrate front-line workers with their delicious treats, but also celebrate the bakery’s 100th anniversary.
  • Denver, Colorado – Partnering with LaMar’s Donuts to distribute donuts to hospital workers, police officers, and firefighters.