A great excuse for a doughnut

National Donut Day celebrates Salvation Army’s history with treat

THE DICKINSON COUNTY Salvation Army Bread of Life Assistance Center staff delivered boxes of donuts Friday — National Donut Day — to show their appreciation to area law enforcement agencies and several of their community partners. Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Officer Darrin Hart accepts fresh boxes of donuts from Tara Blagec, director of the Salvation Army Bread of Life Assistance Center in Kingsford. National Doughnut Day started in 1938 as a fundraiser for Chicago’s Salvation Army. Their goal was to help those in need during the Great Depression, and to honor the Salvation Army “Lassies” of World War I, who served doughnuts to soldiers. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — It’s sweet, sugary, powdery, fried and sometimes topped with icing and sprinkles. Every year, donut lovers celebrate the day dedicated to the treat on the first Friday of June.

What many don’t know is that the sweetest day of the year — National Donut Day — has a deeper meaning.

“It became a holiday thanks to the Salvation Army’s work during World War I,” Salvation Army Bread of Life Assistance Center Director Tara Blagec said.

Organization volunteers, which were known as “Donut Lassies,” traveled overseas to provide emotional and spiritual support as well as fried confections, supplies and other services to troops on the front lines. The “Donut Lassies” fried doughnuts in small pans — or helmets if pans were not available — and are credited with popularizing the doughnut in the U.S. when troops returned home from war.

The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Donut Day in 1938 to help those in need during the Great Depression and to honor the work of the “Donut Lassies.”

In celebration of National Donut Day and to show their appreciation, the Dickinson County Salvation Army delivered 24 dozen freshly made donuts Friday to local law enforcement agencies and several of their community partners.

Blagec and case manager Jennifer Witte made many special deliveries, including unplanned stops.

“We even just stopped at a couple local foundries and put a smile on those that were outside,” Blagec said. “We are having fun.”

“Tadych’s Family Market made the donuts fresh that morning and we boxed them up for delivery,” Blagec said.

Each box was labeled from the Salvation Army with a note saying, “We thank you so much for your service and your commitment to our community.”

Blagec said the local agency started the annual delivery after an open house at their location, 145 Roseland St. in Kingsford, on National Donut Day, and served — what else? — donuts and coffee to visitors.

“We have since continued to give a little thank you and spread some cheer,” she said.

Blagec also hopes to expand the event next year.

“I was thinking maybe get our local bakeries involved,” she said. “For that day, they could possibly donate a portion of their donut sale to the Salvation Army.”


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