Magazine Exclusive

A Giant National Donut Day

Today is National Donut Day and shopping at GIANT and MARTIN’S grocery stores could result in a sweet return for the Salvation Army’s Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware (PENDEL) Division.

The stores will give 50 cents (up to $2,000) to The Salvation Army for every dozen donuts sold in the division today. The Salvation Army is also partnering with the app Shareity to facilitate multiple “Take A Bite, Share The Delight” activations to increase awareness of The Salvation Army and its mission.

The GIANT Company is headquartered in Carlisle, Pa., and The Salvation Army has a corps there.

“The GIANT Company, over the years, has been very generous to us in terms of financial and food donations,” said Stephen Brown, corporate relations manager for the PENDEL Division. “We have a longstanding partnership with them.”

“The bulk of their gifts to us over the years have been spent on emergency food, especially over the past 16 months. That continues to be our No. 1 expense during the pandemic, so I imagine that will be a good fit as far as where the funding will end up.”

Samantha Arciuolo, director of corporate engagement for the USA Eastern Territory, said, “We are excited to have The GIANT Company come alongside The Salvation Army to help raise awareness and funds on this extra sweet day. The funds will stay in the local communities in which they were raised. For example, if you buy a dozen donuts in Carlisle, the money will go to the corps there.”

The GIANT Company and The Salvation Army will also hold a webinar at noon today to celebrate the enduring spirit of the day (see link). Among those appearing will be Lt. Colonel Larry Ashcraft, divisional commander; Major Tawny Cowen-Zanders, divisional secretary; Major Robert Schmig, corps officer in Scranton, Pa.; and Lieutenant Oziel Urbaez, corps officer in Carlisle, Pa.

Representing The GIANT Company will be Jessica Groves, social impact manager; and Renee Carner, bakery analyst.


A lasting partnership

The webinar will also include video of Salvation Army officers and others as they hand out donuts from GIANT stores to people around their communities.

“They’ve been going to fire stations, vaccine clinics, and police stations, to drop off donuts,” Brown said.

Brown said The GIANT Company’s most recent gift to PENDEL in April 2020 was $75,000 to help with COVID-19.

“This gift helped support The Salvation Army’s local units during a particularly trying time, when the onset of the pandemic resulted in a dramatic increase in food requests coming from the community, including from many individuals who may have never needed the Army’s support before,” Brown said.

The Salvation Army and The GIANT Company also collaborated in past years, including “One GIANT Army” Volunteer Day in 2018 and a successful diaper drive in 2019.

Nick Wheeler, director of external communications for the USA Eastern Territory, said the partnership with Shareity promises to raise the profile of National Donut Day and The Salvation Army.

Shareity is not really an app, but a cloud-based platform that helps companies support a good cause and to launch a social media action-oriented campaign. The company describes itself as “the platform that connects people, brands, and causes to collectively drive the greater good.”

Wheeler said Shareity will invite people to offer a selfie, a picture or a video with their contacts and encourage friends to participate in the challenge. Participants do not need to download an app; they simply text DONUT to 797979 or click a link to join the campaign through their mobile device.

“This campaign is purely social and it’s designed to complement whatever else the corps is doing,” Wheeler said. “We’re really using this as a pilot program because we think this might have much bigger potential to use around our Christmas campaign.”

In 1938, The Salvation Army celebrated the first National Donut Day to honor Salvation Army “donut lassies.” They were women Salvationists who served donuts to troops in the trenches during World War I.

The donut has become synonymous with the Salvation Army’s social services and continues to be a comfort food served those in need during times of disaster.

by Robert Mitchell

The link for today’s noon Salvation Army webinar can be found here 

To learn more about National Donut Day and see an original century-old donut recipe, click here.