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National Doughnut Day has long-standing history of bravery: Vote for Houston's best donut

Austin Photo Set: News_Mike_donut day_may 2012_donut girl
Salvation Army donut lassie Courtesy of Salvation Army
Austin Photo Set: News_Mike_donut day_may 2012_donuts
Austin Photo Set: News_Mike_donut day_may 2012_donut girl

Friday is National Doughnut Day, y'all!

Many of your favorite off-limits baked goods spots will be handing out a free donut of any variety to happy, hungry patrons. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Shipley Do-Nuts and Dunkin' Donuts will all give out the sweet stuff for free!

More than an excuse for overindulgence, this national holiday actually holds a quirky place in our country's history as well, with ties to the Salvation Army and World War I.

As the history books tell the tale, two female Salvation Army volunteers, Ensign Mary Sheldon and Adjutant Helen Purviance, devised the clever idea to serve home cooked meals to American soldiers to boost their morale on the front lines in the hardest days of battle in 1917.

This donut day, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Shipley Do-Nuts and Dunkin' Donuts will all give out the sweet stuff for free!

Unfortunately, on the front lines of war-torn France, they had limited ingredients and only the equipment on their backs to work with. So, in a moment of inspiration, Sheldon and Purviance improvised and began frying rings of sweet dough in a soldier's helmet.

Pretty soon, the other recruited "Doughnut Lassies" were making their way through the trenches, bringing coffee and donuts to the troops. Less than a year later, the Allies declared victory over Germany, and American soldiers returned home, with memories of these sweet treats dancing in their heads.

The Salvation Army declared the first National Doughnut Day in 1938 as a way to honor all of the "doughnut lassie" volunteers who went to war on behalf of the Salvation Army. The day began as a fundraiser during the Great Depression, and it has endured due to its obvious appeal to both sweet-toothed customers and civic-minded donut shops.

For today's CulturePoll, We've compiled a list of some of the best donuts in the city, so click here to vote for you favorite. If it's not listed, let us know in the comments section.

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