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Spotlight: Father’s Day and National Donut Day

Father's Day in the United States is celebrated on the third Sunday of June each year, which means Father's Day 2024 will be June 16th. National Donut Day is the first Friday in June each year, which means it falls on June 7th this year. Sonora Smart Dodd is credited with founding Father's Day in the U.S.  Her father William Smart was a Civil War veteran who raised his six children as a single father after his wife died in childbirth.  After hearing a Mother's Day sermon, Ms. Dodd believed that a similar holiday should be created to honor fathers.  She reached out to church groups and the YMCA.  The first Father's Day celebration was held June 19, 1910 at the Spokane, Washington YMCA.  Early Father's Day celebrations traditionally included church sermons and roses gifted to fathers.  In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the law which made Father's Day a permanent national holiday.


Father's Day is the fourth most popular day for greeting cards.  The National Retail Federation estimates that, in 2024, Americans will spend over $20 billion on Father's Day gifts and cards.  The final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship is traditionally held on Father's Day each year.  


Father's Day is not the only holiday that is linked to the YMCA.  During World War I, women working with civilian organizations including the YMCA and the Salvation Army staffed service centers across Europe designed to support American troops stationed there.  One of the ways in which the women worked to lift spirits was to fry and hand out donuts.  These women earned the nickname "Donut Lassies."  The Salvation Army estimates that at one point its Donut Lassies were cooking and serving close to 9,000 donuts every day to American soldiers in Europe.  In 1938, Congress designated the first Friday in June as National Donut Day to honor the contributions the Donut Lassies made to the war effort.  During World War II, the Red Cross took up the donut effort, creating special "clubmobiles" or mobile service centers equipped with coffee and donut making appliances, staffed by women who soon became known as "Donut Dollies."


Maybe pick up some donuts to honor dad this month and plan to watch the final round of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 on June 16th. 


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