100 Years of the "Donut Lassies"

Jun 2, 2017 | by Debbie Walyus

National Donut Day 2017 marks a century since the work of the original Lassies


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 2, 2017) – Today is National Donut Day, and it isn’t just another food holiday. Held annually on the first Friday in June, National Donut Day was established to honor The Salvation Army’s Donut Lassies, who served the sweet treats to soldiers on the front lines during World War I. 

The Donut Lassies are often credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when the troops returned home from war. The donut now serves as a symbol of the many social services The Salvation Army provides to more than 25 million people in need each year.

“The donut was a simple way to remind soldiers on the front lines of World War I that they had support and encouragement from their country, and these small deeds made a big impact,” said Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, community relations and development secretary for The Salvation Army. “In every service The Salvation Army provides, we embrace this same principle and make sure people know that we are a resource for those in need, who will give them a hand up and be a beacon of hope.”

To commemorate the work of the Donut Lassies and to demonstrate the impact of a small token of kindness, The Salvation Army asked people across the country to submit their own donut designs to be recreated on a real donut and given to a veteran. With the help of Snapchat artist Evan Garber, a select number of designs submitted through Snapchat were replicated on a real donut and given to veterans at The Salvation Army’s Carr P. Collins Social Service Center in Dallas, Texas. The veterans at the center work one-on-one with an assigned case manager who helps them achieve goals like saving money, addressing health needs and establishing income.

To join in on the fun, share a donut with someone today as a reminder that #GivingIsSweet.

Below are a few additional facts about the history of National Donut Day and The Salvation Army:

  • Starting in 1917, approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance to American soldiers in France during World War I.
  • Owing to limited resources, donuts were fried only seven at a time.
  • Last year, more than 25 million Americans received assistance from The Salvation Army’s 3,500 officers, 65,000 employees and 3.2 million volunteers.

To learn more about National Donut Day and how you can get involved with your local Salvation Army, visit salvationarmyusa.org.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. For every dollar donated to The Salvation Army, 82 cents is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index (HumanNeedsIndex.org). For more information, go to salvationarmyusa.org or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.




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