While National Doughnut Day sounds like a day to enjoy the circular treats, it’s actually a day to remember those who fought for our freedom.
According to the Salvation Army, National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 to honour and recognize the bravery of the ‘Doughnut Lassies’ who served soldiers on the frontlines.
In 1917, Salvation Army officers and volunteers were sent to France to aid soldiers fighting in the First World War. In their efforts to encourage and assist the troops they initially offered the same wholesome activities they’d provided at home – religious services, the playing of music, hot cocoa and fudge.
Following 36 dreadful days of steady rain on the front, two young Salvation Army women decided that what the demoralized troops needed was something that reminded them of the sweetness of home.
They quickly got to work and gathered excess rations for dough and shell casings for makeshift rolling pins. They filled a soldier’s helmet with lard and fried braided crullers. The doughnuts were simple in flavour, made with only a handful of ingredients but instantly became a hit. The fragrant smell of frying doughnuts drew the soldiers in and word went out, “if you’re hungry and broke, you can get something to eat at The Salvation Army.”
The women who often risked their lives in the service of others made a powerful impact on many around them.
On June 5, the Salvation Army will be delivering doughnuts to community partners and sharing the “age-old” recipe on Facebook (search The Salvation Army BC Division).
“We don’t want people to forget the sacrifices made by our veterans,” says spokesperson Patricia Mamic. “National Doughnut Day is a reminder that they have made and continue to make a commitment to protect us each and every day.”