National Doughnut Day

Thinking of Grandma on National Doughnut Day

By Sam Johnson

     Today I'm thinking of Grandma Dorsher (my mom's mom), and her scrumptious homemade doughnuts.
    In fact, to celebrate this memory, I'm going to take Mom out this afternoon for coffee and a couple doughnuts at one of our favorite local coffee stops.
     What brought this on, you ask?
     Well, it's because today is National Doughnut Day!
    National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by the Salvation Army of Chicago as a fund-raising event to collect much-needed contributions during the tough years of the Great Depression, and also to honor the Salvation "Lassies" of WWI (but more about that later).  
     As a kid, I fondly remember family visits to Grandma's house. Grandma always had a fresh batch of her scrumptious sugar cookies or freshly made doughnuts ready for us.
    Later, as a college student spending an afternoon with Grandma, she would brew up a pot of tea for us and bring out a plate of my favorite goodies -- freshly made, still warm, deep fried doughnuts (usually with the doughnut holes in a separate bowl).  
    She would always say, "here are some doughnuts for my favorite doughboy."
    I didn't pay much attention to her comment, thinking it to be just one of her cute little sayings (she had a lot these she liked to use). But one day I asked her, "Grandma, why do you call me your favorite doughboy when you serve me your doughnuts? I'm not really that chubby!"
     "Well, I only remember that doughnuts were usually served to the soldiers heading off to war -- doug
hnuts for the doughboys! -- and I guess that's why I say it."
     Some years later I learned more about the "doughnuts and the doughboys."


Doughnuts for Doughboys    
     According to the Salvation Army, the story of "doughnuts for doughboys" goes like this:

     The original Salvation Army Doughnut was first served by Salvation Army in 1917. During WWI, Salvation Army "lassies" were sent to the front lines of Europe to operate Salvation Army canteens (called "huts"). These brave volunteers made home-cooked foods, baked goods, provided clothes-mending, as well as stamps and writing supplies, which served a huge morale boost to the troops.     
     Two of the "lassies" (Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance) came up with the idea of making deep-fried doughnuts, and it was said to be an "instant hit."
     With all the baking of the popular doughnuts, these Salvation Army gals were dubbed "doughgirls."
     
Margaret Sheldon wrote of one busy day: "Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee." Often, the doughnuts were co

Donut Day Resources


Click below for more info on "National Doughnut Day" and its origins.
Click here for "Doughnut Day Resources"

oked in oil inside the metal helmet of an American soldier.

Origin of "Doughboy"
     Because of these doughnuts for soldiers, some believed the word "Doughboys" was originated. However, American foot soldiers were occasionally called "doughboys" during the Civil War. The earliest references to the term, comes from the U.S-Mexican war. (See www.samjohnsonjournal.com for more information on this).

National Doughnut Day
     To honor the historic role played by the Salvation Army's "doughgirls" and their "doughnuts for doughboys," in 1938 the Salvation Army declared the first Friday of every June to be "National Doughnut Day," and it has continued annually ever since.
     As a result, on the first Friday in June, it is not uncommon for chapters of the Salvation Army, as well as local bakeries, doughnut shops, or other organizations, to offer free donuts to solicit donations for the Salvation Army.

     This year, in addition to supporting service men and women, many of the proceeds raised by the Salvation Army from National Doughnut Day will go to support relief efforts in Joplin, Missouri, which was struck by a deadly tornado last Sunday, through a mobile feeding kitchen capable of serving thousands of meals a day, just like the "huts" of WWI.
     If you wish to support this effort, you can make a contribution to you local Salvation Army, contribute online at www.salvationarmyusa.org, or send a check to: The Salvation Army, 615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22313.
   
     In celebration of National Doughnut Day, I've already made a contribution online.
     Now I need to pick up Mom and head out for a cup of joe and some tasty doughnuts!


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