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Friday, June 6, 2014 - 9:00am
El Paso, TX (CNN) — Friday is National Donut Day, and while you may be enjoying one of the many donut giveaways, how National Donut Day got started may surprise some.
The occasion didn't start with a local bakery or a major franchise. National Donut Day dates back to some tough times, and it started with the Salvation Army in Chicago in 1938. The organization chose donuts to help raise funds during the great depression because of their role in boosting troop morale during World War I.
Ron Busroe with the Salvation Army said, "The Salvation Army was having a tremendous amount of need to meet the needs of the people who were being affected by the Depression."
With rations of flour, lard and sugar, young volunteers like these served simple donuts to war-weary soldiers -- working close to the battlefields and, in many cases, improvising. Busroe said, "When they didn't have anything else they would actually take one of the soldiers' helmets and they could cook maybe six donuts at a time in one of these helmets."
Busroe added, "The reason behind the original Donut Day is to help remember those in need. And a sweet treat can make life a little bit easier for everybody."
National Donut Day is celebrated the first Friday in June.
In honor of the day, local donut shops are offering free donuts. The Salvation Army will be at Old Fort Bliss giving out free donuts. That is happening Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can also get a donut at Dunkin Donuts with the purchase of any beverage, and at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, you can get a free donut with no purchase necessary.