Chattanooga Salvation Army honors local heroes
Every year, the Chattanooga Salvation Army celebrates National Donut Day – which is on Friday – by honoring local heroes, in a nod to the day’s history. National Donut Day, started in 1938 by The Salvation Army in Chicago, honors the Salvation Army donut lassies of World War I, who provided comfort and assistance to American soldiers in battle.
The local heroes the Chattanooga Salvation Army honor include fire stations, the city and county mayor’s offices, police departments and military recruiting and reserve centers. Approximately 30 locations are included in the distribution.
“We really try to encompass all the local heroes we have here in town,” said Chattanooga Salvation Army Volunteer Services Coordinator Alissa Best, who noted that the heroes are really thankful for the small gesture of people thanking them for their service.
The donuts delivered are from a local partner, Tasty Donuts, who Best calls “absolutely wonderful.”
“They donate all of the dozens of donuts we deliver and really help in getting the word out, making sure the community knows what we’re doing and just helping us say thank you to the people we are serving.”
Getting the donuts out to those people is no problem, Best said. There are plenty of volunteers to help on Donut Day.
“I’ve found that I always have tons of volunteers who want to get involved with Donut Day. I usually have a lot come out, and they go out in groups to deliver. Last year, I grouped them based on who they signed up with, so a group could have been made up of 10 people or 3 people.
“One thing I have found is Donut Day has been a really great way to make connections with volunteers. It’s a really fun, family-friendly event, and a lot of the volunteers and families that participated have come back for a lot of my special events throughout the year. Also, people who volunteered last year are coming back this year and bringing friends to participate.
“It’s a really great way to connect The Salvation Army to both the community and the volunteers.”
The Salvation Army of Cleveland, TN, which is a corps of the Chattanooga Salvation Army, also delivers donuts (from Krispy Kreme) to local heroes. Additionally, its Inman Street Coffeehouse sometimes has had free homemade donut holes for customers to decorate with powdered or cinnamon sugar and original or chocolate glaze.
In addition to the donut deliveries, the Chattanooga Salvation Army also partners with Krispy Kreme to put a kettle in their store on Donut Day. Plus, last year, a student volunteer dressed as a donut lassie handed out flyers with information about Donut Day and The Salvation Army.
“We’re hoping to do that again this year,” Best said. “It’s another way to bring in the history of Donut Day, which is fun.”
Best noted that she’s in talks with other donut places in town to put out a kettle and also see about having a volunteer there with flyers.
She said of Donut Day, “I’ve found it’s a really good way to educate and bring awareness to people in the community that The Salvation Army is out and doing things in the community all year round. It’s a good way to explain to people and show them a little bit more about what we do and how we’ve been doing that for a long time.
“A lot of people know about Donut Day because different donut shops nationally have done a really good job advertising for it, but they love to find out that this holiday isn’t just about the donuts, that there’s a meaning to it with saying thank you to local heroes for their service and that Donut Day has a little bit of history to it.”