Come Celebrate National Donut Day with Us This Year at Krispy Kreme!

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National Donut Day 2017

This year, we have teamed up with Krispy Kreme to celebrate National Donut Day on Friday, June 2 at the Krispy Kreme grand re-opening of their 701 E. Stassney Lane location.  Come by for donuts and games for the whole family all day from 8:00am to 10:00pm, with live music in the evening.

We will also commemorate this historic day by delivering donuts to the Austin Veterans Administration clinic as well as various Williamson & Travis County police, EMS and fire departments to thank them for their service.

National Donut Day 2017

National Donut Day, now held annually on the first Friday of June, was established by The Salvation Army in 1938 in Chicago to honor the “Donut Lassies”, who served donuts, along with writing supplies, clothes-mending and home-cooked meals for the soldiers.  The donuts became synonymous with The Salvation Army, as well as the American Expeditionary Force soldiers who were returning home with the nickname “Doughboys”.

Donuts and World War I Soldiers: 100 Years Later.
Meet the women who fried donuts and dodged bombs on the front lines of WWI.

National Donut Day 2017
National Donut Day 2017
National Donut Day 2017
National Donut Day 2017

In September 1917, 250 women of The Salvation Army volunteered to join the front lines of World War I to support the American Expeditionary Force.  They traveled to the camp of the 1st Ammunition Train, just mere miles from the trenches of eastern France and were given gas masks, helmets and .45-caliber revolvers as standard war supplies.

National Donut Day 2017

When two of the women, Margaret Sheldon and Helen Purviance came up with the idea of making donuts to remind the soldiers of home, they found they were missing the needed cooking supplies: rolling pins, cookie cutters, flour and sugar.  So, the two collected excess rations for the dough, and shell casings and wine bottles for makeshift rolling pins.  They filled a soldier’s helmet with lard to fry the braided donuts and later used an empty condensed milk can with a narrow tube of camphor ice to made a cutter in the true donut shape.

At the start, they were able to make 150 donuts a day, but over time, that grew to 2,500 doughnuts, eight dozen cupcakes, fifty pies, 800 pan cakes and 255 gallons of cocoa, still done in a day.  The donuts were simple in flavor, but still delicious, made only with flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs and milk, then dusted with powdered sugar after being fried.  (Recipe at bottom of the page)  The donuts and the “Donut Lassies” who made and served them, had an outsized impact on the soldiers’ psyche.

National Donut Day 2017

Today, The Salvation Army continues to provide meals, including donuts, and numerous other services including our Camp campaign, emergency shelters and service centers (Downtown Shelter and Social Services Center, the Austin Shelter for Women and Children, and the Williamson County Services Center), along with an Adult Rehabilitation Center, emergency disaster services and Christmas assistance.

To support our local programs and services, please donate now.

National Donut Day 2017
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Donut Recipe

5 – cups flour
2 – cups sugar
5 – Tsp Baking Powder
1 – ‘saltspoon’ salt (1/4 tsp)

2 – eggs
1 & 3/4 – cups milk
1 – tub lard

National Donut Day 2017


Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.  Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than ¼ inches thick.  (When finding items to cut out donut circles, be creative.  Salvation Army Donut Girls used whatever they could find, from baking powder cans to coffee percolator tubes.)
Drop the rings into the lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the donuts gradually.  Turn the donuts slowly several times.  When browned, remove donuts and allow excess fat to drip off.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Let cool and enjoy.

Yield:  4 dozen donuts