A Brief History of National Donut Day

By Keith Spencer

Glazed donuts from Kanes Donuts. Photo © NoBo Magazine

Glazed donuts from Kanes Donuts. Photo © NoBo Magazine

Few know the history of National Donut Day which is celebrated on the first Friday of June every year to honor the volunteers with the Salvation Army who served doughnuts to troops during World War I.


The “Lassies” of the group were sent to the front lines of Europe where these brave volunteers made “home-cooked food” to help boost morale. Outside of military personnel, the Lassies were the only women allowed to visit the front lines. Lt. Colonel Helen Purviance is considered the “first doughnut girl” of the Salvation Army.


Today, the celebration is used as a fund raiser for needy causes of the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army has partnered with Entenmenn’s donuts, who will donate $1 for each entry into their current sweepstakes.


Many credit the Salvation Army and their gracious act with helping to popularize the doughnut across the United States, bringing the delectable treat to the forefront for many breakfast and snacking fanatics.


Check out NoBo’s list of favorite donut shops from across the North of Boston region. You can also read our interview with Paul Delios, one of the family owners of Kane’s Donuts in Saugus and now Boston too! When using social media today, encourage your friends to #GoLocal when celebrating #NationalDonutDay by visiting a great doughnut shop near you.


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