National Donut Day

First Friday in June

June 7, 2024

National Donut Day is a yearly celebration in the United States dedicated to the appreciation of donuts. It typically falls on the first Friday of June.

It even has its own website.

Many American doughnut stores offer free doughnuts on the occasion.

It’s a great time to let your employees have a little fun.

So – Celebrate! Show your gratitude and share some donuts!

donut day donut with sprinkles on yellow pink mint-green backdrop

Join the Celebration

Whether you’re enjoying a classic glazed doughnut or experimenting with exotic flavors, National Donut Day invites everyone to join in the festivities. It’s a time to savor the simple pleasures of life and to honor the spirit of generosity that continues to make this tradition so special.

As National Donut Day rolls around each year, let’s take a moment to indulge our sweet tooth and reflect on the heartwarming origins of this delicious holiday.

Woman making donuts in WWI image source US Archives
(image source: U.S. Archives)

National Donut Day History

National Donut day originated in 1938 as a fundraiser by The Salvation Army in Chicago to support those in need during the Great Depression and to honor the women who volunteered during World War I to aid soldiers.

These Salvation Army volunteers, referred to in the past as “Donut Dollies,” were known and fondly remembered for serving doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.

Today, National Donut Day is observed by bakeries, cafes, and donut shops across the country, often with special promotions or free donut giveaways.

It’s a fun and tasty way to celebrate this beloved pastry and its cultural significance.

Sweet Origins of National Donut Day

In the midst of the Great Depression in 1938, a delightful tradition was born out of charity and gratitude. National Donut Day, observed on the first Friday of June, traces its roots back to a heartfelt initiative by The Salvation Army in Chicago.

A Sweet Mission in Troubled Times

Facing economic turmoil and widespread hardship, The Salvation Army sought to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the Great Depression. Inspired by the heroic efforts of their volunteers, particularly the women volunteers of the Salvation Army in World War I who provided comfort and sustenance to American soldiers, they conceived the idea of National Donut Day as a fundraiser and a gesture of remembrance.

donut girl world war 1
(image source: Salvation Army)

Unsung Heroes of World War I

During World War I, Salvation Army volunteers embarked on a mission to support American troops stationed in France.

Recognizing the soldiers’ need for morale-boosting treats, two Salvation Army volunteers, Ensign Margaret Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance, ingeniously introduced doughnuts to their offerings. The response was overwhelming, with soldiers flocking to Salvation Army huts for a taste of home.

These selfless and brave women provided comfort and care. They participated right behind the frontlines long before women were allowed to participate in the armed forces.

More on the remarkable story of Helen Purviance.

From War Efforts to Fundraising

The popularity of doughnuts during wartime didn’t fade with the end of World War I. In World War II, Red Cross volunteers followed suit.

Meanwhile, National Donut Day continued to be celebrated as a fundraiser for The Salvation Army, with communities across the nation coming together to support a worthy cause.

Today, National Donut Day remains a cherished tradition, not only as a celebration of this beloved pastry but also as a tribute to the selfless acts of kindness that inspired its inception. In cities like Chicago, the day serves as a reminder of The Salvation Army’s enduring commitment to serving those in need.

donut next to keyboard

Why celebrate National Donut Day?

  • It’s an opportunity to drop in a little bit of casual fun.
  • Employee retention is critical to the success of your company.
  • When employees feel valued, they perform better.
  • Employees who know they’re contributing positively to the organization feel more valued.

National Donut Day Employee Appreciation Ideas

Celebrating National Donut Day with your employees is a great way to show gratitude for the hard work and dedication of employees and to boost morale and foster a sense of camaraderie. Here are ideas you may consider:

Donut Breakfast Buffet

Organize a special breakfast buffet featuring a variety of donuts for your employees to enjoy. Include classic flavors like glazed and chocolate frosted, as well as more adventurous options. Set up a designated area in the office where employees can gather to indulge in their favorite treats and socialize with colleagues.

Donut Decorating Contest

Host a donut decorating contest where employees can unleash their creativity and design their own unique donuts. Provide plain donuts along with an assortment of toppings such as frosting, sprinkles, candies, and fruit. Encourage participants to get inventive with their designs and offer prizes for the most creative, delicious, and visually appealing creations.

Donut Sampling Session

Partner with a local bakery or donut shop to arrange a tasting session for your employees. Bring in a selection of different donut flavors and varieties for everyone to sample and enjoy. This can be a fun way for employees to discover new flavors and support local businesses while celebrating National Donut Day together.

Donut-Themed Games and Activities

Plan a series of donut-themed games and activities to add an extra element of fun to the celebration. You could organize a donut eating contest, a donut trivia quiz, or a donut-themed scavenger hunt around the office. These interactive activities can help foster teamwork, encourage friendly competition, and create lasting memories for your employees.

No matter which ideas you choose to implement, the key is to create a festive and inclusive atmosphere where employees can come together to enjoy delicious donuts and bond with their colleagues.

Include Remote Workers

You can make your event in-person or virtually.

Provide gift cards to popular (or local) donut and coffee shops. Or you can deliver a choice of DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats to employees that are remote.

Schedule deliveries 15 minutes before your event time.

hand picking up donut from a plate

Learn how organizations like yours are celebrating National Donut Day!

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