Happy National Donut Day!
June 5th is National Donut Day. The Salvation Army started National Donut Day during the Great Depression as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to the Salvation Army's social service programs. National Donut Day commemorates the "donut lassies," female Salvation Army volunteers who provided writing supplies, stamps, clothes-mending, home-cooked meals, and of course, donuts, for soldiers on the front lines. With limited resources, these treats were fried, only seven at a time. The Salvation Army's Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance cleverly thought of frying donuts in soldiers' helmets.
Doughnut Girls also played a big part for the 10th Mountain Division in Italy. Red Cross nurses were often referred to as Doughnut Girls because they would make doughnuts and drive them out to the soldiers. An excerpt from a memoir called A Brief History: CO. A 10th MTN. MED. BN. by Arthur Cohn reads:
Our Red Cross girls are known to have been riding around in their doughnut - loaded jeeps when men were hugging the ditches during a barrage. The girls don't say they were not scared. No one says that. But the boys will tell you that it did things to them when they saw the girls around at a time like that. Some of our own boys were at the Bn. Aid Sta. on Di Sopra when a barrage came over. Everyone hit the dirt and stayed put. A couple of them will tell you, a little abashed, how they felt when a hand tapped them on the shoulder and they looked up to find Debby holding out doughnuts.
To learn more about National Donut Day check out the Salvation Army's website
To learn more about doughnuts including doughnut recipes check out these books: Doughnuts
To learn more about the 10th mountain division check out Western History's extensive 10th Mountain Division collection.
Thank you to librarians Annie Nelson and Keli Schmid for researching the information about National Donut Day!
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