An Active ArmyMagazine

Donut Day

On the first Friday of June, National Donut Day is celebrated by store chains, supermarkets, and Salvation Army corps (churches) across the country. A tradition since 1938, the holiday honors the Salvation Army “Donut Girls” who, during World War 1, made them fresh for American soldiers in the foxholes of France. Along with the delicious homemade treats, the women provided writing supplies and stamps to help soldiers stay in touch with their families back home, and offered to clean and service their uniforms. This ministry continued during World War 2 and the Vietnam War.

Donut Day has become an opportunity to educate the public on Salvation Army history while serving the classic treats. 

Last June, The Salvation Army of Wadsworth, Ohio, hosted its first Donut Open House. Dressed in donut–themed T–shirts, the corps staff decorated the multipurpose room with balloons and served coffee and donuts provided by the Giant Eagle grocery store chain.

“We wanted to find a way to bring Wadsworth to our corps,” says Lindsey Kercher, director of education at the corps. “We also reached out to people who wouldn’t necessarily need the services of The Salvation Army. This was an event for everyone to learn about Donut Day and the Donut Girls.”

This year, Kercher hopes to get the corps advisory board members to attend the open house and to learn more about this tradition. “We feel like we’re constantly asking our board members for help,” says Kercher. “This time we want to give them something back for being part of the corps.”

In Newark, Ohio, last year, The Salvation Army kept the Donut Girl tradition alive by giving away coffee and donuts directly to veterans. The corps partnered with Entenmann’s baked goods and with Warriors, Amazon’s program to help veterans, and visited a local veteran’s clinic.

“After doing that, we gathered more volunteers to travel to the police and fire departments in the county to deliver donuts to all of them,” says Lieutenant Kaitlyn Haddix, corps officer at the Newark Corps. “We turned Donut Day into a day of outdoor ministry, giving around 2,000 of them to our veterans and public safety workers.”

Along with the donuts, members of the Newark Corps gave away printed World War 2 flyers and information on The Salvation Army and the Donut Girls. They also included another piece of history—the original donut recipe that The Salvation Army used during that war.

“By today’s standards, the original donut recipe is a little bland,” says Lieutenant Haddix, laughing. “The United States was going through a sugar shortage during World War 2. So now, we add sugar or cinnamon to make them taste better.”

by Hugo Bravo

The Salvation Army Donut Lassie Recipe

(makes 4 dozen)


2 large eggs

5 cups flour

2 cups sugar

5 tsp. baking powder

¼ tbsp. salt

1 ¾ cup milk

1 tub lard


• Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.

• Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than ¼ inch thick.

• Drop the rings into the melted lard, making sure the fat is hot enough (320˚– 330˚ F) to brown the donuts gradually. Turn the doughnuts slowly several times.

• When browned, remove donuts and allow excess fat to drip off.

• Dust with powdered sugar or cinnamon. Let cool and enjoy.

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