National Doughnut Day dates back to WWI, how to get a free doughnut

Local News

(Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — National Doughnut Day, which is celebrated on the first Friday in June, got its sweet start overseas during World War I thanks to some “Doughnut Lassies” who wanted to cheer up fighting American men.

Dressed in long wool coats and hats, two female volunteers for the Salvation Army, known as “donut lassies, ” hand out donuts to two returned African American soldiers of the 351st Field Artillery, Louisville, Kentucky, 1919. Image courtesy National Archives. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Image

The 250 Salvation Army women volunteers traveled to France to provide emotional and spiritual support, as well as fried confections, to the troops on the frontline. The doughnuts were a hit with the soldiers who would line up to get the. The women were soon making thousands of doughnuts day.

Salvation Army poster.

When the soldiers returned home to America so did their appetite for doughnuts and the fried dough was in demand. Soon, it started appearing in bakeries.

The day didn’t officially become recognized until 1938 when it was first celebrated in Chicago as a fundraiser for those in need during the Great Depression and a way to recognize the women who had served the doughnuts during the war.

Salvation Army poster.

“This National Donut Day, as the Las Vegas community celebrates with a sweet treat, we are proud to remember that this fun tradition started with our very own volunteers over a hundred years ago,” said Captain Anthony Barnes, The Salvation Army Clark County Coordinator.  “If you ask me, knowing that the day has its roots in the fight for good makes those glazed pastries taste even sweeter.”

Several places are offering free doughnuts today:

  • Krispy Kreme is giving one free doughnut and you can get a second one free if you show your vaccination card
  • Dunkin’ is giving away a doughnut with the purchase of a beverage
  • Pink Box is giving away a free T-shirt with the purchase of a dozen doughnuts
  • Donut Bar is giving away 500 birthday cake doughnuts at its downtown location
  • Wicket Donuts is offering a buy one get one free on their doughnuts

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