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May 15, 2021

From Salvation Army: Thank you, veterans

Thank you to the veterans of the United States Armed Forces from the Salvation Army Salisbury Corps.

It is a little known fact that the Salvation Army’s place in the United States was won in Europe in the hearts of American GIs in WWI and later WWII. Their support of the Salvation Army allowed it to grow to be a part of American society today and help millions over the decades, and now over a century.

Veterans have served and do serve in the ranks of the Salvation Army and on local advisory boards, still providing the support in their community that allows the Salvation Army to help their neighbors. With the observance of Veteran’s day on Nov. 11, 2015, I want to thank my fellow veterans for their service and honor our fallen heroes who have given their lives for freedom. As a Salvation Army officer I want to thank the veterans who showed their thanks by supporting the Salvation Army when they returned home.

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.

— Captain Bobby Carr

Salisbury Salvation Army Corps

 

History of the Doughnut Girl

Since 1917, when a cheerful Salvation Army lassie handed a fresh doughnut to a homesick doughboy in France, the Salvation Army doughnut has symbolized loving concern for those in the armed forces.

In 1917 young Helen Purviance, an ensign in the Salvation Army, was sent to France to work with the American First Division. Putting her Hoosier ingenuity to work, she and a fellow officer, Ensign Margaret Sheldon, patted the first dough into shape by hand, but soon employed an ordinary wine bottle as a rolling pin. Since they had no doughnut cutter, the lassies used a knife to cut the dough into strips and then twisted them into crullers.

Ensign Purviance coaxed the wood fire in the potbellied stove to keep it at an even heat for frying. Because it was back-breaking to lean over the low fire, she spent most of the time kneeling in front of the stove.

“I was literally on my knees,” she recalled, “when those first doughnuts were fried, seven at a time, in a small frypan. 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,”

Soon the tempting aroma of frying doughnuts drew a lengthy line of soldiers to the hut. Standing in mud and rain, they patiently waited their turn.

Although the girls worked late into the night, they could serve only 150 doughnuts the first day. The next day, that number was doubled. A while later, when fully equipped for the job, they fried from 2,500 to 9,000 doughnuts daily, as did other lassies along the frontline trenches.

After several soldiers asked, “Can’t you make a doughnut with a hole in it?” Ensign Purviance had an elderly French blacksmith improvise a doughnut cutter by fastening the top of a condensed milk can and camphor-ice tube to a wooden block. Later, all sorts of other inventions were employed, such as the lid from a baking powder can or a lamp chimney to cut the doughnut, with the top of a coffee percolator to make the hole.

The soldiers cheered the doughnuts and soon referred to Salvation Army lassies as “doughnut girls,” even when they baked apple pies or other treats. The simple doughnut became a symbol of all that the Salvation Army was doing to ease the hardships of the frontline fighting man — the canteens in primitive dugouts and huts, the free refreshments, religious services, concerts, and a clothes-mending service.

Today Salvation Army Red Shield Clubs and USO units offer members of the Armed Forces a variety of services, ranging from attractive recreational facilities to family counseling — but the famous doughnut remains a perennial favorite.

Nor is it confined to those in uniform. During every sort of peacetime emergency –fires, floods, earthquake, transit strikes, blackouts — The Salvation Army’s mobile canteens have provided thousands of civilians with the doughnuts that stand for the Salvationist’s loving concern and readiness to help in time of need.so

Sources: Susan Mitchem Director of the Archives at Salvation Army Headquarters provided this article.

 

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