"1947 - It was natural to offer coffee
and doughnuts, and a booth was set up during the Oregon State
Fair on the porch of the Agriculture Building. Sufficient
funds were raised that first year to repair both the officer
quarters and the Corps' building. But this was just the start
of the story. . . . ."
Background on the Salvation Army and doughnuts
It was undoubtedly The Salvation Army's involvement with doughnuts
during the First and Second World Wars that suggested to the
officers and soldiers of the Salem Corps that coffee and doughnuts
might be a natural at a Salvation Army Booth for the State
Before we discuss the significance of the Salem
doughnuts, however, perhaps we should review the story of
the first Salvation Army doughnuts which became legend during
the First World War. America was reluctant to enter that War
but, once the decision was made, National Sal-vation Army
Commander Evangeline Booth (yes, Founder William Booth's daughter)
approached our President and asked if The Salvation Army could
be of assistance to our military.
Initially, the President was reluctant to put
Salvationists in jeopardy, but Evangeline Booth persuaded
him with the thought that the men would need spiritual help
and other encouragement during that time and, soon, Salvation
Army troops were permitted to be on the front lines ministering
not only to spiritual needs, but also assisting those men
to keep in tough with their families, serving coffee and doughnuts
and a cheery smile, and just generally helping in many little
ways, and the men never forgot it.
Salem's doughnut hut
Following that war, in 1946, Captain and Mrs. Lesher found
themselves in charge of a Salem Corps whose building was in
need of repair. It was natural to offer coffee and doughnuts,
and a booth was set up during the Oregon State Fair on the
porch of the Agriculture Building. Sufficient funds were raised
that first year to repair both the officer quarters and the
Corps' building. But this was just the start of the story.
. . . .
Subsequent years found the Army again in that
location, and the tradition of The Salvation Army doughnut
grew in Salem. Donut Daze was initiated between 1956 and 1958.
The Salvation Army booth is opened at the State Fair in Salem.
It will continue through 1974.
As the rental fees went up on the Fairgrounds, the Army tried
a different tactic. They would sell doughnuts from the Corps'
building and, eventually, from a small doughnut hut adjacent
to the Corps' building. This becomes very popu-lar with the
community and State employees. By this time, there was a vast
amount of support from many individuals such as Major Helena
Sainsbury, her sister Mrs. Major Earl West, Dorothy and Harry
Trenoweth, Fred Yarbrough, Brigadier and Mrs. Brigadier Edith
Bennett, David and Jean Vanderhoff, and numerous others helped
make, sell, and deliver the doughnuts--literally hundreds
of dozens of doughnuts throughout Salem. Even the young people
of the Corps wanted to get involved. Eventually, the doughnut
machine itself needed repair and, again, necessity required
a new approach.
Salem's International Food Circus
The International Food Circus. About that time, significant
changes began to take place in the life of the Corps and its
interaction with the community of Salem. Corps Sergeant Major
Harry Trenowith was a well-respected man but of advanced years.
In time, it was deemed that Salem should have a new Corps
Sergeant Major, and the chosen designee was Envoy Jim Horgen.
Jim's wife, Shirley, operated a preschool child care center
in Salem known as the Lollipop Tree.
Shirley had an idea that she felt had merit.
Gathering the soldiery of the Corps around her, she explained
that we could eat our way around the world and benefit the
Army's work in other countries in the process. All we needed
to do was determine which countries we would like to represent
in any given year, prepare food dishes from that country,
and invite the community to experience each unique country
and enjoy that uniqueness through the cuisine being of-fered.
It worked very well, and The Salvation Army has done that
annually in the month of October for 25 years.
Researched and composed by Florence Robb and
David Vanderhoff, 2003