The True Meaning Behind National Donut Day

There’s more to the average donut than meets the eye.

One might think that National Donut Day is all about indulging in a few sweet pastries and treating your friends to a nice morning snack. However there is much more to the story.

Back in 1938 the Salvation Army started National Donut Day as a way to pay honor to the ‘Dollies’ of World War I; A group of female volunteers that served warm donuts to enlisted men on the front lines.

The story goes something like this.

In 1917, the Salvation Army sent a fact-finding mission to Europe to figure out what they could do to help the men fighting on the front lines. As a result of this mission, the US Army set up what would be called ‘Huts’ that served baked goods, provided wrapping paper, stamps and clothes mending services to the soldiers. About 250 female volunteers traveled to Europe to help run these Huts. Because of the difficulties providing fresh bread or other baked goods on the war-torn frontlines, two volunteers by the name of Margaret and Helen came up with the idea of serving donuts (it’s much easier to set up a few frying vats than a complex baking oven). The concept was an instant hit!! It wasn’t uncommon for a team of two women to serve up more than 200 fresh donuts each day! 

They called these young ladies ‘Dollies’ or ‘Doughnut Girls’.

old poster for doughnut girls WW1

So the next time you bite into a delicious warm donut, you can say a quick thank you to the ‘donut girls’ of World War I.

Happy National Donut Day y’all!

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