Mark your calendars for Friday, June 7! Stores nationwide are giving away free donuts to celebrate, but there are ways that you can give back, too.

By Andrea Beck
June 05, 2019

National Donut Day is almost here! Celebrated on the first Friday in June every year, the holiday dedicated to donuts of all kinds falls on June 7 this year. But unlike some of the other food holidays we celebrate, National Donut Day has a sweet origin story that dates back to the early 1900s.

In 1917, during World War I, two Salvation Army volunteers, Margaret Sheldon and Helen Purviance, had the idea of serving donuts to American soldiers serving in France to help lift their spirits. Since their supplies were limited, donuts were their baked good of choice because they were simple to make. They served hundreds of donuts and cups of coffee to soldiers on the front lines and were nicknamed “donut lassies” and “donut girls” for their efforts.

Then, in 1938, The Salvation Army celebrated the first National Donut Day in Chicago to honor the “donut lassies” from World War I, and to raise funds and awareness for the organization’s service programs during the Great Depression. Today, National Donut Day is still a fundraiser for The Salvation Army in some cities across the U.S., but it’s also celebrated across the country with free donuts. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can celebrate the day with The Salvation Army’s original donut recipe from World War I, or you can mark the day by picking up a free donut from these stores.

Image courtesy of Krispy Kreme.

1. Krispy Kreme

Stop in to your local Krispy Kreme June 7, and you can pick up a free donut, no strings attached. You don’t even have to make a purchase to earn your donut, and you can choose any donut—including glazed, frosted, filled, or dressed-up donuts—from Krispy Kreme’s menu for free.

Not that we needed any more reason to grab a free donut, but if the company gives away one million free donuts during the day, they’ll host another free donut giveaway later in June to celebrate the release of a new menu addition.

Image courtesy of Dunkin'.

2. Dunkin'

When you’re grabbing your morning coffee, grab a free donut too! Dunkin’ is offering customers a free classic donut on National Donut Day with the purchase of any beverage. After all, there’s no better pairing than donuts and coffee.

3. Walmart

While their bakery has a lot more than just donuts, Walmart is joining in the celebration and giving away 1.2 million free donuts on June 7. All you have to do to score one is head to your Walmart’s bakery section on National Donut Day, and you’ll be rewarded with a free glazed donut.

Related: 15 Baked Donut Recipes That Prove Homemade Is Better

While you’re munching on your free donut, there are some opportunities to give back on National Donut Day, too. As part of their celebration, The Salvation Army is partnering with Entenmann’s to deliver donuts to over 20,000 veterans across the country. Some local branches of The Salvation Army will also have red donation kettles at donut shops like Krispy Kreme, while others are partnering with stores (like Dunkin’ and 7-Eleven) to donate some of the proceeds from National Donut Day to local Salvation Army Corps. There are plenty of ways to join in the fun, so make sure you celebrate June 7 with a freshly baked (or fried) donut!

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