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National Donut Day

Updated: Friday, June 6 2014, 12:06 PM CDT

Today is National Donut Day.

The occasion didn't start with a local bakery or a major franchise.

Rather, the story begins on the faraway battlefields of World War I.

Karin Caifa has the sweet details.

THE HUMBLE DONUT HAS HAD A BIT OF A RENAISSANCE LATELY --

"I am bruleeing the donut right here, so when you bite into it, you get that very crisp crunch..." 

RISING IN THE PASTRY RANKS, WITH SMALL SHOPS LIKE WASHINGTON'S ASTRO DOUGHNUTS AND FRIED CHICKEN MAKING THE SWEET TREAT, A LITTLE MORE WELL-ROUNDED.

"We kind of noticed over the last maybe 5, 6, 7 years donuts lost their way a little bit compared to the cupcake and we felt that they needed a platform or a stage to compete with those."

FOR CO-OWNERS JEFF HALPERN AND ELIOT SPAISMAN, IT'S ABOUT FRESH INGREDIENTS, SEASONAL TWISTS, AND DONUTS CRAFTED WITH CARE, EVERY DAY.

BUT THIS YEAR, AND EVERY YEAR, THE DONUT ACTUALLY HAS A SPECIAL DAY, THE FIRST FRIDAY IN JUNE.  

NATIONAL DONUT DAY GOES BACK TO SOME TOUGH TIMES, AND IT STARTED WITH THE SALVATION ARMY IN CHICAGO IN 1938.

"The Salvation Army was having a tremendous amount of need to meet the needs of the people who were being affected by the Depression." 

RON BUSROE OF THE SALVATION ARMY SAYS THE ORGANIZATION CHOSE DONUTS TO HELP RAISE FUNDS DURING THE GREAT DEPRESSION BECAUSE OF THEIR ROLE IN BOOSTING TROOP MORALE DURING WORLD WAR ONE.

WITH RATIONS OF FLOUR, LARD AND SUGAR - YOUNG VOLUNTEERS LIKE THESE SERVED SIMPLE DONUTS TO WAR-WEARY SOLDIERS -- WORKING CLOSE TO THE BATTLEFIELDS AND, IN MANY CASES,  IMPROVISING.

"When they didn't have anything else they would actually take one of the soldiers' helmets and they could cook maybe six donuts at a time in one of these helmets."

THE KITCHEN HERE AT ASTRO DOUGHNUTS HAS A FEW MORE TOOLS, BUT BEHIND THIS STRAWBERRY-CHOCOLATE CONFECTION -- SPECIAL FOR NATIONAL DONUT DAY -- IS A SIMILAR PREMISE.

"We're making a couple hundred of those and all-100% of the proceeds will go to the Fisher House Foundation which helps Wounded Warriors."

HONORING THE DAY'S TRUE SPIRIT.

"The reason behind the original Donut Day is to help remember those in need.  And a sweet treat can make life a little bit easier for everybody."


National Donut Day


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