New Athol Salvation Army Captain delivers sweets for National Doughnut Day

  • Athol Salvation Army Capt. Esther Wilson delivering doughnuts to the Athol Fire Department in appreciation for their service on National Doughnut Day, Friday, June 4. Contributed Photo

  • Athol Salvation Army Capt. Esther Wilson delivering doughnuts to the Athol Police Department in appreciation for their service on National Doughnut Day, Friday, June 4. Contributed Photo

  • Athol Salvation Army Capt. Esther Wilson delivering doughnuts to the Massachusetts State Police in Athol in appreciation for their service on National Doughnut Day, Friday, June 4. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 6/7/2021 2:37:54 PM
Modified: 6/7/2021 2:37:53 PM

ATHOL — There’s no better way to appreciate new neighbors than by delivery doughnuts for National Doughnut Day this past Friday.

In recognition of Doughnut Day, which was started by the Salvation Army during World War I, Athol Corps Capt. Esther Wilson delivered doughnuts to the Athol Police Department, The Massachusetts State Police in Athol and the Athol Fire Department in appreciation for their great service to the community.

Wilson moved into the Athol Salvation Army this April and has been getting to know the community. She said she “has a heart for people” and is working on finding ways to grow the church back to its potential, and is excited to work closely with the community to serve and help those who need the Army’s services the most.

“I’m eager to meet more people in this wonderful community and partner with agencies to provide a brighter future for those in need,” Wilson said.

Born and raised in The Salvation Army, Wilson brings with her many years of service and leadership. Prior to being appointed to Athol, Wilson had two corps and church appointments in Western Pennsylvania and three appointments in The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center.

Working in the Salvation Army is also a family affair for Wilson. She said her brother and sister-in-law, early in their careers, were also appointed to the Athol Corps. In 1880, George Scott Railton traveled to New York with seven female officers (ministers) — nicknamed the ‘Hallelujah Lassies’ — to start the first Salvation Army mission in the United States. One of those female officers was the great-great grandmother of Capt. Wilson.

National Doughnut Day history

Many Americans don’t know that the sweet tradition of National Doughnut Day, celebrated on the first Friday in June, dates back to World War I, when nearly 250 Salvation Army volunteers known as “Doughnut Lassies” traveled overseas to provide emotional and spiritual support as well as fried confections, supplies and other services to troops on the front lines.

These original doughnuts were fried in small pans on the front lines, and the Lassies are credited with popularizing the doughnut in the United States when troops returned home from war. The Salvation Army in Chicago celebrated the first National Doughnut Day in 1938 to commemorate their work and help those in need during the Great Depression.

That same spirit of service continues to this day. For more than a century, the organization has provided a wide range of essential services like food, shelter and emotional and spiritual support to the most vulnerable and to the men and women serving on the front lines of need.

“Whether glazed or cake, and whatever the toppings, doughnuts represent our long history of providing hope and comfort — from our volunteers in the trenches of war to our continued service on the front lines of need,” Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, National Commander of The Salvation Army, said in a press release. “Knowing that National Doughnut Day has its roots in the ‘fight for good’ makes these treats taste even sweeter.”

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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