Friday, June 6, 2014

National Doughnut Day: What Do You Run On?

The first Friday in June marks one of my favorite days of the year—National Doughnut Day. If you are fortunate enough to live in a part of the country with a Dunkin' Donuts and want to honor this beloved American treat, you may notice one of two things. 

1. Your donut will be free***
This day comes with an interesting history, which also explains why you may get a freebie!
As written on
National Doughnut Day honors the Salvation Army "Lassies" of WWI. It is also used as a fundraiser for needy causes of the Salvation Army. 
Salvation Army first served the original Salvation Army Doughnut in 1917. During WWI, Salvation Army "lassies" were sent to the front lines of Europe. These brave volunteers made home cooked foods, and provided a morale boost to the troops. Often, the doughnuts were cooked in oil inside the of the metal helmet of an American soldier. The American infantrymen were commonly called doughboys. Salvation Army lassies were the only women outside of military personnel allowed to visit the front lines. Lt. Colonel Helen Purviance is considered the Salvation Army's "first doughnut girl."
On National Doughnut Day, look to see if your local doughnut shop, or other organizations, are offering free donuts to solicit donations for the Salvation Army or for another needy cause. If you find them, please be generous.
I love a good cake donut with sprinkles.
2. You will be reminded of Dunkin' Donuts' motto in more ways than one.
Since 2006, Dunkin' Donuts has used the tag line "America Runs on Dunkin' Donuts" for marketing purposes. Prior to that, Americans made efforts to be increasingly health conscious moving away from the "forbidden doughnut" as a breakfast staple toward another carb: the bagel. Dunkin' Donuts responded by offering more breakfast varietals and coffee options. Dunkin' loyalists stayed and brought with them many more. Today, the sheer volume of customers—men, women and children of all shapes and sizes, creeds and colors point to a brown, orange and pink truth: we do.

I get it. Their coffee fuels many of us as we start work day and make our way through the daily grind. And with that styrofoam cup (just milk, no sugar please) must come a Dunkin' Donuts treat. My favorite? The Munchkin (a glorified donut hole). 

Today we run on Dunkin' Donuts more than ever—through drive-thru services, a pay-by-phone app, in person and on-line. And without fail, every time I am in line, I question what else we run on both literally and metaphorically.

This is easy for me to say because there is not one single Dunkin Donuts store in the state of California. When I travel to a part of the country—or world i.e. Mexico and Puerto Rico—my eyes are wide open to what they sell and who's buying. And believe me, I am one of these people. As soon as I land in Dulles airport, I find my way to enjoy this treat. But it's a treat. It's not a regular part of my diet. It's not hard to recognize that the nutritional value of most items on the menu is not laudatory. Their donuts, bagels and muffins are high in fat and sugar; fresh fruits and vegetables are limited choices. 
My diet is far from exemplary, but I do try to make smart choices about what I eat. When I am confronted with the sheer number of Americans who are purchasing donuts on a regular basis, for whom it is NOT a treat, I question what that says about us. How does that affect us? 

Their motto has also made me question what else do Americans "run on?" Gratitude and appreciation? Loyalty or pride? Negativity? Self-centeredness? Pain and hurt? Peace and prayer? I hope so.

Every time I play golf with one friend, I know the first three holes will be fueled by his complaints and dissatisfaction. It's almost as though he launches his negativity off tees 1-3. From time to time, I will look at him and think "what's it like to run on such contentment." It usually subsides, sometimes sooner than the 4th hole, sometimes even later (maybe I should offer him a donut). But, his demeanor and Dunkin' Donuts motto has challenged me to think of what do I run on? What fuels me? I would like to think it's joy and gratitude but I know from time to time it's cynicism or disgust. I'm working on it. 

National Doughnut Day has served as a reminder that it's always important to say "thank you," Be it for a free donut, for the service of men and women to our country in the past or today, for treats like Munchkins and good coffee and for making smart(er) choices about what we run on....Enjoy.

Photo Credits
Salvation Army Girl

National Donut Day
American Runs on

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