A Big Day and a Big Donut

Jan 5, 2017 | by Captain Jared Arnold

This year marks the 100th anniversary of The Salvation Army’s involvement in World War I, marked symbolically by the deep-fried donut. Donuts were prepared by Salvationists and distributed to soldiers on the battlefield. To celebrate 100 years it is necessary to go big…real big; and that’s exactly why people lined up at 6:00a on June 2nd, 2017 in Happy Valley, Oregon, outside a small local donut shop and Mediterranean Restaurant. A weird combination one might think, but in Portland, that’s how they roll. People came, not only for a free donut but to also witness the unveiling of a world-record breaking donut: One deep-fried, ten-pound pastry, glazed red and donning the Shield of The Salvation Army.

The donut was handcrafted by Mr. Fadi Arnaout, the owner and head chef of The Mediterranean Grill and Grandma Fadi’s Donuts, located just a few minutes away from The Salvation Army, Cascade Division Headquarters. Mr. Arnaout, who likes to be addressed as Fadi, was preparing to do a 300 donut giveaway on National Donut Day, to promote his restaurant and donut business. When he discovered the roots of National Donut Day, he reached out to The Salvation Army to see if he could make a red-glazed donut to support the organization. In response, The Salvation Army asked if Fadi would be willing to go one step further, and create a 100 ounce (6.25 pound) donut, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Salvation Army’s contribution to the troops in WWI. “100 ounces!” Fadi said, “That has to be some sort of record!” In fact, it was a record. Fadi, accepted the challenge, and The Salvation Army submitted to the Guinness Book of World Record, for “The World’s Largest Single Donut.” After multiple attempts, and plenty of sweat (not in the donut of course,) Fadi outdid himself and presented a 160 ounce (10 pounds) donut, crushing the previously requested weight.

In front of local government officials, partners, friends of The Salvation Army, television reporters, and donut loving people in the community; the great donut weigh-in began. Captain Robert Steiner, the Divisional Secretary of the Cascade Division, was there to assist with the weigh-in and to give some history of The Salvation Army’s role in World War I, as well as the significance that the donut and its makers played in bringing comfort and support to the troops: “The Salvationists in WWI would fry the donuts in the helmets of the troops in the trenches.” To continue the tradition of supporting those who support others; the good men and women of the Happy Valley Police Department were happy to accept the giant donut as a “thank you” for letting The Salvation Army serve alongside them, in serving the community. “We’ve called in backup to tackle this one” said the receiving police officers when asked by a local news reporter how they intended to finish the glazed behemoth.

It was a great day of remembrance, celebration, and achievement for The Salvation Army and Grandma Fadi’s Donuts of The Mediterranean Grill. In speaking with Fadi after it was all done, he stated he’s already got plans for next year’s National Donut Day. In the spirit of the words of the founder of The Salvation Army, General William Booth: “That and better will do.” Fadi told The Salvation Army with a wink and a smile, “Maybe next year, we’ll go for a dozen.”

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