The Donut Run is a local celebration of National Doughnut Day, the annual remembrance that succeeded the Doughnut Day event created by The Salvation Army in 1938. The day honors the women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I. National Doughnut Day celebrated its 76th annual day of remembrance this past year and did so in style, with the fresh idea of a run.
“Basically it is a time to come together, run, raise some money for charity and have a donut,” Portsmouth Salvation Army Corps. Officer, Mark Ferreira said.
The Donut Run is new to the area, with this being its inaugural trek in Portsmouth. Not only that, but the event is not that common in most Salvations Army Corps. Ferreira said he can’t recall anyone hosting a run.
“A lot of corps will have donut giveaways, have donuts and coffee, and host community events like that. However, we really wanted to find a way to promote health in our community, as well as delicious donuts, so the donut seemed to be a good fit.”
Ferreira said that the Donut Run was a “brainchild” that he and Lydia Smith, a Salvation Army volunteer, came up with. Smith and Ferreira were bouncing around ideas and the Donut Run was what was settled on. Fereira says that the event is a strange combination that really came to be due to calendar conflicts and opportunities that seemed to land, but worked out really well for them.
“It went better than I thought it would,” Ferreira said. “We had a great turnout, had about 70 people running, and raised around $6,000, which was more than we anticipated. We look forward to doing it again next year.”
Smith is a recent SSU graduate, with a degree in English communications.
“It went well, I think,” Smith said. “We had an amazing response from the community; people really came out to support us and were enthusiastic to do so. We raised more than we hoped and it was a very successful turnout for the Salvation Army. We are very thankful for our community support.”
Smith said all of the money raised from the run will go directly towards fighting hunger in our local community. Local food pantries and Father’s Table Ministry will be the real benefactors of the race. Father’s Table Ministry is a Salvation Army sponsored kitchen that provides hot meals to the community.
“We’re supplying about 1,000 hot meals a week out of our kitchen, providing food to hundreds of families each month from our food pantry. It takes a lot to keep that going. The Salvation Army is the place where people can come when they’re hungry. Five days a week you can find a hot meal here, no questions asked. We recommend anyone who is in need take advantage of our services.”
The Donut Run was an important benefit to the Salvation Army Portsmouth Corps, because there usually isn’t much fundraising coming in during the summer season and the money raised will help in fund the feeding operations until fall rolls around.
After the success of the Donut Run, Smith was offered a job as the community resource coordinator, which is something new to the local Salvation Army. Smith will continue to coordinate events, communicate with Salvation Army donors and take time to boost public relations efforts in the community.
“Lydia has volunteered in a few different capacities over the past few years,” Ferreira said. “Actually, my first interaction with her was during one of the Friday evening meals that the Father’s Table does. She has also volunteered at vacation bible school. She’s kind of been on our radar for a little while in terms of helping out in those ways.”