JACKSON TWP. The Salvation Army is partnering with Fishers Foods for a special, tasty fundraiser this holiday season. Fishers has hosted the Salvation Army Kettle at each of their locations throughout the county for many years.
This year, in addition to the kettles, Fishers will be offering a special box of donuts for sale in their bakery. A box of six sells for $5.99 with 10 percent going to the Salvation Army.
Fishers has replicated the recipe of the original donut served on the front lines to men and women during World War I. Boxes of the donuts will be on sale in the bakery departments at five Fishers Foods stores through December including locations at 5215 Fulton Road, Jackson Township; 4403 Cleveland Ave. NW, Canton; 8100 Cleveland Ave. NW, North Canton; 4401 Tuscarawas Ave. W, Perry Township; and 2216 Lincoln Way E., Massillon.
A special launch day was held on Oct. 2 from 9 a.m. to noon. By 10:45, the Fishers Foods on West Tuscarawas Street in Perry Township had sold out of the boxes of donuts.
"We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the Salvation Army over the years," said Fishers Foods President Jeffrey Fisher. "Salvation Army Maj. Tom Grace and I began to talk about ways we could continue to tell the story of the Salvation Army and the good works they do for those in need. We thought about connecting with people through food and decided to offer the Salvation Army donut. We applaud and support the ongoing efforts of the Salvation Army to make our community a better place to live."
Beginning in 1917, the Salvation Army "Donut Girls" handed fresh donuts out to homesick doughboys in France. Two Salvation Army Ensigns, Helen Purviance and Margaret Sheldon, started making the donuts with limited tools.
They patted out the first dough into shape by hand. They used a wine bottle as a rolling pin and used a knife to cut the dough into strips and then twisted them into crullers. They fried the donuts over a wood-fired stove, seven at a time in a small frypan.
The ladies made 150 donuts the first day, 300 the next and were up to 2,500 to 9,000 when they got the proper equipment to make the donuts in bulk. The soldiers started referring to the Salvation Army ladies as the "donut girls."
"We made the donuts in our kitchen last May for National Donut Day and handed them out in local neighborhoods and in front of the Salvation Army building during the First Friday events over the summer," Maj. Debbie Grace said. "We connected with Jeff Fisher and came up with the idea to sell the Army donuts as a fundraiser. Fishers Foods bakery did a test run and brought them to a Salvation Army meeting and today we are launching the sale of those donuts as a way to raise money for the Salvation Army to continue to help those in need."
Canton Mayor Thomas Bernabei also stopped by during the launch morning on Oct. 2. He bought several boxes of the donuts to take back to his office.
"I’m a longtime supporter of the Salvation Army and so appreciative of everything thing they do for the underserved in the community," Bernabei said. "I’m hoping that anyone thinking of buying donuts for this holiday season will grab a couple of boxes. We have so many people in our community that are in need and the money raised by the donut sale will help."
In addition to Fisher and Bernabei, Jackson Township Trustee James Walters also stopped by the Fulton Road store in Jackson Township to get the donut sale started.