It’s Your Patriotic Duty To Eat Donuts Today

The Salvation Army launched National Donut Day in 1938.


June 2 is National Donut Day, and it’s your patriotic duty to eat the breakfast pastries.

If you’ve got a glazed look in your eye, don’t worry. I didn’t know the origins of this “holiday” either. 

In 1938, The Salvation Army in Chicago launched National Donut Day to raise funds to help the poor and to celebrate the organization’s Donut Lassies of World War I. These women were sent to France to set up frontline field bases where soldiers could grab supplies and sweets. The battle-weary “Doughboys”, as they came to be known, popularized the treats after the war.

The century-old original recipe is online and includes “1 tub of lard.” 

Donuts also boost morale in my house, but since I’m fresh out of lard, I let someone else do the baking. (And, yes, of course, I thought of the “Time to make the donuts.” guy from those ancient Dunkin’ commercials as I typed that sentence. I’m not just pre-Cronut, I’m pre-Internet, kids.) 

My 13-year-old daughter, Sarah, and I visited Grandview Bakery in Mount Washington to raise an apple fritter to freedom. I knew the donuts were tasty. In April, I interviewed the shop’s cake decorator-turned-TikTok star Josué Luciano about his eye-poppin’ creations, and I grabbed a box of donuts on the way out for journalistic research purposes.



This time, Sarah ordered a Boston Cream and I had a glazed with rainbow jimmies. We stood at the Patrick T. Fagan Overlook and shouted “Woo hoo!” like two yinzer Homer Simpsons.

Actually, Sarah can relate more to the Donut Lassies.

Like my dad, an Army veteran, she is obsessed with military history, memorabilia, books and documentaries. She has multiple camouflage outfits. I mean, I never see this child. 

Donuts are her other area of expertise and she’s helped me taste-test some of the best in town (The Cream Sticks at Madsen Donuts in Castle Shannon are her favorite). 

She’s eager to visit Restore 22’s Coraopolis cafe, which is expected to open in time for Veterans Day in November. The nonprofit wants to bridge the gap between former service members and civilians through conversation, coffee and baked goods. They should probably stock some of the Donut Lassies’ tub-of-lard specialties, too, especially when National Doughnut Day rolls around on Nov. 5. 

I’m happy my kid was able to combine her two passions into one sugar-fueled, school-free morning that made her forward-march out the door without dawdling. 

Thank you for your service, Doughboys. 

Categories: PGHeats