National Doughnut Day originated in Chicago

National Doughnut, or Donut, Day is celebrated every year on the first Friday in June. This tradition started in 1938 in Chicago as a tribute to the Salvation Army’s ‘Doughnut Lassies’ that aided soldiers during World War I. 

In addition to honoring the women who provided doughnuts and coffee to U.S. soldiers fighting in France, National Doughnut Day began as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army in Chicago. These efforts would help the poor and those in need during the Great Depression of that era. 

The brave women who were sent to France would serve thousands of soldiers in makeshift huts. In addition to baked goods and coffee, the ‘Doughnut Lassies’ provided clothing assistance and writing supplies to soldiers. They also helped boost morale and spirits as these American heroes risked their lives on the front lines of the war.

In all, about 250 Salvation Army volunteers traveled to France. They soon became very popular with the soldiers and visits were frequent. One volunteer noted that she made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts and served 700 cups of coffee on one very busy day. 

Some businesses, including Krispy Kreme, offer free doughnuts to customers on National Doughnut Day. They also offer discounts and deals to celebrate this day that pays tribute to one of America’s favorite treats.

A small business in Sangamon County has been serving up delicious treats, including a wide variety of doughnuts, for nearly a decade. Scoop Du Jour, located in Chatham, was founded by Shannon McAuley and Fran Abbott in 2015. They put their combined 50-plus years of retail experience into bringing an ice cream parlor to this growing community that now boasts over 14,000 residents.

According to McAuley, Scoop Du Jour has gone from selling a couple hundred doughnuts a week to now several thousand. In 2023, the business sold over 300,000 doughnuts. Currently, Scoop has 20 different kinds of doughnuts and seven icing options, and those numbers will continue to grow. Some of the latest trends include “crazy fillings,” as McAuley said, with maple bacon and caramel also being popular.

“We keep evolving in the doughnut business,” McAuley stated. “We found a market that was out there and we took advantage of it for sure.”

On National Doughnut Day, Scoop Du Jour plans to run a few specials and there will also be giveaways for customers.

“The secret to a good doughnut is the appearance and using a high-quality doughnut and making it look really good,” McAuley added. “The better they look, the better they are.”

Scoop Du Jour’s expansive menu now offers doughnuts, ice cream, coffee, cakes, and pastries, along with plenty of beverage options, shakes, and sundaes. Due to demand and popularity, the business relocated to a much larger location in recent years. A drive-thru has been added for customer convenience, and there are plans for continued expansion and offerings at the current location on Plummer Blvd.