According to The Salvation Army, the first National Doughnut Day was celebrated in Chicago in 1938 to help raise money during the Great Depression. The event was also used to commemorate the so-called "donut lassies" who served the tasty treats to American soldiers during World War I. These female Salvation Army volunteers were also a source of home-cooked meals, writing supplies and other help for the soldiers on the front line.
Approximately 250 Salvation Army volunteers provided assistance to American soldiers in France starting in 1917 during WWI, according to The Salvation Army.
To celebrate the day, several retailers are offering free or discounted doughnuts. There is even a website dedicated to National Doughnut Day, which features a video about the day's history, photos from people across the country sharing pictures of their doughnuts and even a place to search for a local place that serves the tasty treat.