The Salvation Army has always been a support to those serving in the Military. Back in 1917 The Salvation Army’s Doughnut Girls were actually on the front lines in war zones serving the Troops doughnuts and coffee!
In 1917 Helen Purviance of Huntington, Indiana, was an Ensign in The Salvation Army. She was sent to France to work with the American First Division, along with Ensign Margaret Sheldon. Helen is known as the First Doughnut Girl!
After serving for over a month in the rain soaked trenches of Montiers-sur-Sauix, France, the ladies believed some “home cooking” might lift the soldiers’ spirits. Working with primitive circumstances and limited supplies, the idea of the doughnut was born.
Helen patted the dough into shape by hand, and then employed an ordinary wine bottle as a rolling pin. They used a little round stove, that was so low they had to get on their knees to fry the doughnuts eight at a time. Nearly 200 doughnuts were made the very first day.
Helen is quoted as saying:
“There was also a prayer in my heart that somehow this home touch would do more for those who ate the doughnuts than satisfy a physical hunger.”
If you want to learn more, there is an exhibit featuring The Salvation Army Doughtut Girls at the Indiana War Memorial Museum in downtown Indianapolis.
These days, Operation Compassion cannot be with our troops as the Doughnut Girls were, but we can certainly show our support by sending Care Packages from home!