National Donut Day Is On Friday, June 2

By Meera Dolasia on May 30, 2017

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Photo Credit: Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Given that Americans consume over 10 billion, or $3.6 billion USD worth of, donuts each year, they don’t really need an excuse to devour the gooey fried treat. However, if you are among the minority that does, you are in luck, because Friday, June 2, is National Donut Day. Celebrated annually on the first Friday of the month, the holiday’s origin can be traced back to Salvation Army workers who volunteered to help injured US troops during World War I (WWI).

When the Donut Girls, as they were later called, arrived in France in 1917, they found that the soldiers were miserable and homesick. To lift their spirits, two volunteers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance, used the limited ingredients at their disposal – flour, sugar, and oil – to make donuts. It was no easy task given that they did not have rolling pins or donut cutters. But the effort was well worth it.

Photo Credit: By Salvation Army "War Cry" magazine, November 9, 1918 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As the tempting aroma of the fresh donuts wafted through the camps, soldiers began lining outside the service hut, patiently waiting for hours in the cold and wet conditions to obtain the special treat that reminded them of home. While the Donut Girls only managed to make 150 donuts the first day, they became increasingly efficient and were soon distributing as many as 9,000 donuts a day. Sheldon even managed to convince a French blacksmith to design a makeshift donut cutter using the top of a condensed milk can to fulfill the request of a soldier seeking “a donut with a hole in it.” The Salvation Army continued the tradition of feeding soldiers with fresh donuts during World War II and the Vietnam War, and the treat became synonymous with the non-profit organization.

In 1938, during the Great Depression, the Chicago chapter of the Salvation Army revived the donut-making tradition to provide much-needed cheer and raise funds for people in need. The event was so successful that National Donut Day became an American tradition. Today, many Salvation Army chapters around the country celebrate the occasion by feeding those in need and handing out free donuts made using the original WWI recipe.

Salvation Army Southern California National Donut Day 2014 event (Photo Credit: Salvation Army CC by 20 vis Flickr)

Many donut manufacturers also use the day to thank their patrons. Krispy Kreme and LaMar's Donuts give a free donut to customers that visit any of their locations, while Dunkin Donuts does the same with the purchase of a beverage. Many neighborhood stores also participate in this fun tradition, so be sure to check if the one closest to you, is giving out free treats!

Happy National Donut Day!


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aromadevourdisposalgreat depressionmakeshiftminorityoriginpatronsrevivedspiritssynonymousvolunteered

Reading Comprehension (7 questions)

  1. How many donuts do Americans consume every year?
  2. Why is Friday, June 2 a good day to eat donuts?

Critical Thinking Challenge

How does giving out free donuts benefit donut manufacturers?

Vocabulary in Context

“To lift their spirits, two volunteers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance, used the limited ingredients at their disposal – flour, sugar, and oil...

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  • The hacker Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 9:23 am
    I have 12 doughnuts 🍩 🍩🍩
    • meepinater
      meepinaterTuesday, August 22, 2017 at 11:25 am
      I missed this... :(
      • snail22Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 7:12 am
        I read this and all it did was make me hungry (but i liked it)
        • Nut BaThursday, August 17, 2017 at 8:02 am
          • civoThursday, August 17, 2017 at 6:55 am
            I like this article because i learned how did girls cook donuts in the ww1 and how they created the whole in the middle. Even i am italian and i rarely eat donuts during winter i sometimes have this delicious treat.
            • nsThursday, August 17, 2017 at 6:22 am
              • Sienna EWednesday, August 16, 2017 at 5:25 pm
                This article really interests me for my love of donuts. I learnt that doughnuts originated from WW1. This article relates to my life because i love doughnuts and i doughnuts always make me feel better, just like it helped the soldiers. This article made me wonder where other treats originated from like cupcakes, ice cream and more. This article really taught me lots about the people who created doughnuts and how national doughnut day started.
                • leann downs mseWednesday, August 16, 2017 at 11:06 am
                  i love doughunt🍩🍩🍩🍩🍩
                  • klbaek26
                    klbaek26Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 3:33 am
                    I love doughnut
                    • kkkkkkkkkkkkkk5
                      kkkkkkkkkkkkkk5Monday, August 14, 2017 at 7:51 pm
                      YUMMY IN MY TUMMY

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