Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder: May 24, 2021

 National Commander Discusses the Origins of Donut Day as Americans Celebrate with Sweet Treats    

*National Donut Day is June 4th   




National Commander, The Salvation Army    


On the first Friday in June, Americans celebrate all the gooey goodness of donuts. But did you know that National Donut Day actually has its roots in doing good?  This sweet tradition actually dates back to World War I, when nearly 250 Salvation Army volunteers known as “Donut Lassies” traveled overseas to provide emotional and spiritual support as well as fried confectionary, clothes and supplies to troops. For more than a century, the organization has continued to provide a wide range of essential services to the most vulnerable and the men and women serving on the front lines of need.    


On May 24, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, National Commander for The Salvation Army, will share details on National Donut Day and how the holiday is rooted in Salvation Army history, giving it a deeper meaning than you might expect.   




  • The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Donut Day in 1938 to help those in need during the Great Depression and to commemorate the work of the “Donut Lassies,” who served donuts to soldiers during World War I.    
  • In 1917, The Salvation Army began a mission to provide spiritual and emotional support for U.S. soldiers fighting in France during World War I. Nearly 250 volunteers traveled overseas and set up small huts near the front lines where they could give soldiers clothes, supplies and, of course, donuts.    
  • The “Donut Lassies” fried donuts in a small pan to boost morale of U.S. soldiers and are credited with popularizing the donut in the United States when troops returned home from war.    
  • The original century old recipe is still being used today and can be found on our website    


For more information about The Salvation Army, please visit:    



Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder is the National Commander of The Salvation Army, the largest social services organization in the United States, with 7,600 centers of operation that serve 30 million people each year. Before becoming the National Commander in July 2020, Hodder served as the Territorial Commander of the Western Territory in the United States, where he worked diligently to address the growing homelessness crisis. Commissioner Hodder graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and practiced corporate real estate law in Los Angeles before responding to God’s call to service with The Salvation Army in 1986.  


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