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The History of National Donut Day & Where to get FREE Donuts

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National Donut Day is Friday June 2nd – I’m going down a Donut Hole.

An addict slumped on a cold wet sidewalk along Market Street struggles to keep the small flame glowing underneath a makeshift cooker. The whipping wind keeps snuffing the flame out. But he is persistent. The cooker contains a sweet powdery concoction he just scored from his usual supplier on the corner. Lucky for this addict, the white crystalline powder was not too expensive. He hoped that it was not cut with a thickening agent. (Last time there was too much baking powder).

The flame grows brighter, and carefully, with excited anticipation, the addict stirs the bubbly hot liquid with a metal spoon… until he sees the familiar site, and smells that familiar sweet fragrance. He watches the circular crispy dough rise to the surface. A Donut. He smiles.

Just imagine a San Francisco where Donuts replace Fentanyl. Maybe one day. (Both Donuts and Fentanyl cause pain relief and euphoria. Both are addictive.)

Sorry…I fell down that Donut hole… it’s dark in some places… but ends up in a happy place.

National Donut Day is right around the corner! (I mean bend) Friday June 2nd.

America has been celebrating National Donut Day for 85 years. So put that in your pipe and smoke it. And The Salvation Army “Doughgirls” did just that (well not exactly) in 1917 during WWI.These young lasses, cooked Donuts in oil using a soldier’s metal helmet as a makeshift cooker and delivered Donuts and coffee to the boys fighting on the frontline.

Let me repeat that… Young women from America volunteered to schlepp thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to an unknown foreign land to risk their one life on the bloody battlefield, in a cold wet trench to cook Donuts. These “Doughgirls” fed the warm sweet Donuts to young American Soldierboys on the front line who were fighting and dying for our country.

National Donut Day was started by the Salvation Army in Chicago in 1938 during the Great Depression. It was a plan to raise funds for the organization, and also honor those remarkable young women who prepared donuts for soldiers during WWI. The first Friday of every June is National Donut Day. The Salvation Army still serves Donuts to this day, and hot meals to those in need during times of disaster.

The “Doughgirls” or “Donut Lassies” were sent to the frontlines not only for Donut duty. They were there to boost morale and provide emotional support to Soldiers. They read, helped with letter writing, played music, mended socks, and prayed with them.

One volunteer, Helen Purviance was the first to come up with the idea to fry Donuts, as she was surveying the limited supplies she had on hand – eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, canned milk and lard. She used empty shell casings to create the Donut holes.

“I was literally on my knees when those first Donuts were fried…with a prayer in my heart that this would do more for those that ate the Donuts than satisfy a physical hunger” – Helen Purviance

The first soldier to receive one of the sweet treats was Private Braxton Zuber. “Oh, boy!” he reportedly exclaimed. “If this is war, let it continue.” Another soldier remarked, “Looking through the doughnut hole gives me visions of Mom back home.”

By the end of the war, Helen had made over one million Donuts, causing a chronic pain she called “Donut wrist”. Her legacy as the first to make the Salvation Army Donuts would follow her long after she returned home from the war to Indiana. She died in 1984 after an honorable life of service.

Bring back the Donut Lassies

Let’s bring back those Donut Lassies! We need them now more than ever. So buy a dozen Donuts and bring them to our boys and girls/men and women who are fighting for their lives on the frontlines of this city.

Celebrate National Donut Day Friday, June 2nd. Contact your local Donut Shop for celebratory Donut deals.

Third Culture
Free Ube Sprinkles Mochi Donut Pop for every transaction while supplies last. And the first 20 drink orders will get a free Donut inflatable

Krispy Kreme Get one free donut! Customers who buy any dozen doughnuts can receive another dozen of Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed doughnuts for $2.

Dynamo Donuts Something is goin’ down

Bob’s Donuts Surprise!

Dunkin’ Donuts: Free donut with beverage purchase

Silver Crest Donut Shop and Bar (It NEVER closes)
340 Bayshore Blvd in San Francisco

Silver Crest never closes

Everyday is National Donut Day at Silver Crest. Step back in time, say “Hello” to the very elderly owners who have been here since forever. Purchase one or a dozen of the gigantic $2.00 bargain unholey Donuts. Give one to a homeless person. You will get a smile in return. Don’t be scared, Donuts are meant to be shared.

Finding the Donuts at Silver Crest

Not hope-less but hole-less. $2 Donuts at Silver Crest. Spread joy to someone in need. And say hello to the Owners.

And next time you bite into a Donut? think about those scared yet courageous young Doughboys in those cold wet trenches and those scared yet courageous young Doughgirls who comforted them with Donuts.

Donut Sing-a-long

Don’t Forget the Salvation Army (My Doughnut Girl) – This song was written in 1919 by Elmore Leffingwell, James Lucas, Robert Brown, and William Frisch (hmm Frisch?)

Pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, hear them ring
Oh, what joy and oh what bliss those coins can bring.
For now our boys are landing at our shores ev’ryday.
This is what you’re bound to hear them say:
Don’t forget the Salvation Army, always remember my Doughnut girl
She brought them doughnuts and coffee just like and angel, she was their best pal
As brave as a lion but meek as a lamb she carried on beside the sons of Uncle Sam
So don’t forget the Salvation Army, remember my Doughnut girl.

An excerpt from another popular Donut Song:
We lift our helmets to you My Little Doughnut Girl!
When the shrapnel flew fast And our fellows were gassed
You sang and baked and prayed, As we bent back the line Of the Hun toward the Rhine
Cheered on by the doughnuts yea made.
Lassie! My Doughnut Girl” – written by Soldierboys

Hankering for more donuts?…have another bite:

The Salvation Army Historical Website
The Glinda Factor
Doughnuts and the Salvation Army by Jason Hanratty
Donuts: An American Passion by John T. Edge
Historical photos: Smithsonian

The Author at The Jelly Donut in the Mission 3198 24th St. (The Jelly Donut Shop is ranked in the top 100 Donut shops in SF according to Yelp reviews)


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Schatzie Frisch

Schatzie Frisch

‘Schatzie the Renegade Deli Heiress’ is a Bay Area native and a lover of San Francisco. Much of her humorous art and writing are a direct result of having been in close (a bit too close) proximity with the cold cut, *Headcheese, at her beloved parent’s Delicatessen (RIP). Schatzie is a Vegetarian, and the creator of the only “Headcheese" Art Gallery in the world.

When Schatzie is not making fun of Headcheese, she has fun swing dancin', pumpkin carvin', pirate chasin', donut eatin' and uke playin' in ‘Schatzie’s Tropical Snoball Lounge’.

*Headcheese /ˈhed.tʃiːz : A cold cut that originated in Europe. Headcheese is not a dairy cheese. There is no cheese involved.