Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
"Donut Girls" serving soldiers donuts during World War I

Donut Day: Newly discovered World War I video

Added on Thursday, June 4, 2015

(Watch video) – During World War I, “Donut Girls” as they were called, walked alongside American and Allied soldiers on the front lines, providing troops with nourishment for their souls and stomachs. The female Salvation Army volunteers fried donuts and delivered them to homesick soldiers during the battles of The Great War.

Serving donuts to troops during World War INow in its 78th year, National Donut Day started in 1938 as a fundraiser by the Chicago Salvation Army. The Army also wanted to commemorate the “Donut Girls,” and National Donut Day was born, celebrated every first Friday in June.

As the story goes, the “Donut Girls” did not have the kitchen supplies needed so donuts were fried in soldiers’ helmets during WWI and in subsequent wars. Initially, they could only serve 150 donuts, but the next day that number doubled. As demand for the comforts of home grew, they fried up to 9,000 donuts daily. The volunteers also provided writing supplies, stamps, clothes-mending and home-cooked meals.

In the video from 1918 you can see “Donut Girls” rolling the dough, cutting out donuts and serving them to soldiers who were fighting in France.

World War I Video of Donut Distribution