British Columbia Division

The Story of the Doughnut Girls The Women Who Fried Doughnuts and Dodged Bombs on the Front Lines of WWI

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Donut Day ImageIn 1917, Salvation Army Officers and volunteers were sent to France to aid soldiers fighting in
‘the war to end all wars’.

In their efforts to encourage and assist the troops they initially offered the same wholesome activities they’d provided at home; religious services, the playing of music, hot cocoa and fudge.

 

 

Following 36 dreadful days of steady rain on the front, two young Salvation Army women decided that what the demoralized troops needed was something that reminded them of the sweetness of home.

They quickly got to work and gathered excess rations for dough and shell casings for makeshift rolling pins. They filled a soldier’s helmet with lard and fried braided crullers. The doughnuts were simple in flavor made with only a handful of ingredients but instantly became a hit. The gloriously fragrant smell of frying doughnuts drew the soldiers in and word went out, “If you’re hungry and broke, you can get something to eat at
The Salvation Army.”

“Before the war I felt that the Salvation Army was composed of a well-meaning lot of cranks. Now what help I can give them is theirs,”
wrote Theodore Roosevelt Jr., son of the former US president, after serving in France.

These dear women often risked their own lives in the service of others and provided such a helpful service; a nice break from the atrocities of war. Their presence was very powerful.

The Salvation Army would like to thank our good friends at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for making this day a great celebration!

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