June 7, 2024, is National Donut Day (Credit: Ramon Boersbroek/ CC-BY-SA-4.0/ Flickr)

Looking for an excuse to eat a donut? Then, you will be thrilled to know that June 7, 2024, is National Donut Day. This makes it your civic duty to indulge in the fried treat. The sweet holiday is celebrated annually on the first Friday of June. It was created by Salvation Army volunteers to raise funds for those in need.

The nonprofit's connection to donuts dates back to World War I. In 1917, a group of female Salvation Army volunteers went to France to care for the wounded soldiers. To boost the morale of the homesick troops, they decided to use the limited ingredients available ‚ÄĒ flour, sugar, and oil ‚ÄĒ to make donuts.

With no rolling pins, donut cutters, or frying pans, the volunteers had to get creative. They shaped the donuts by hand and fried them in a soldier's helmet. Despite working late into the night, the women only made 150 donuts the first day and 300 the next. But the effort was well worth it. The aroma of fresh donuts brought much-needed cheer to the soldiers. They waited patiently for hours in cold and damp weather to get their treat.

Salvation Army volunteers made donuts to cheer up US soldiers (Credit: SalvationArmyUSA.org/ CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Once fully equipped, the "Donut Lassies" dished out up to 9,000 donuts a day. The fried dessert became a symbol of The Salvation Army's efforts to ease the hardships of American troops. It was also used to comfort frontline soldiers during World War II (1939-1945) and the Vietnam War (1955-1975).

In 1938, the Chicago chapter of The Salvation Army set aside a day to sell donuts made using the original WWI recipe to the general public. The funds collected were used to help those affected by the Great Depression. The event was a huge success, leading to the creation of National Donut Day.

Today, many donut makers participate in the celebrations by offering free or discounted treats. Krispy Kreme and LaMar's Donuts give a free donut to every customer who enters their stores. Dunkin' Donuts does the same with the purchase of a beverage.

Krispy Kreme will give out free donuts on June 7 (Credit: Krispy Kreme/ CC-BY-SA-2.0)

National Donut Day is not the only celebration of this sweet treat! Donut enthusiasts also observe National Jelly-Filled Donut Day on June 8, National Cream-Filled Donut Day on September 14, and National Donut Appreciation Day on November 5. With so many excuses to indulge, it is not surprising that Americans devour over 10 billion donuts ‚ÄĒ an average of 33 donuts per person ‚ÄĒ annually.

Donuts are an American tradition, but similar treats are enjoyed worldwide. India has a spiral sweet treat called jalebi, while Tunisians enjoy honey-smothered pastries called yoyos. Indonesia's donut kentang is made using mashed potatoes and coated with powdered sugar.

Happy National Donut Day!

Resources: Wikipedia.org, SalvationArmy.org