Close up of a selection of colorful donuts

Fresh Cake Donuts Thursdays at The Center, Brainerd, MN

You have the opportunity to order white, chocolate or blueberry cake donuts.  Then they could be plain, cinnamon sugared or frosted.  The frostings choices are many; such as; vanilla icing, chocolate icing, cream cheese, German chocolate, maple or peanut butter.  You may choose to have sprinkles or drizzles of vanilla or chocolate icing.  How do you decide what type of donut you’d like?  It may be a tough choice, but it’s fun to figure out your favorite combination when they all taste so good.

Many people in the Brainerd/Baxter Lakes Area have already discovered their favorites and pick up donuts every Thursday at The Center where the donuts are made fresh by volunteers.  These dedicated volunteers, some of whom have been volunteering for 20 years, make approximately 150-200 dozen donuts each Thursday.  Recently there was a record breaking day of over 500 dozen donuts.

As you can imagine, making donuts in this quantity is not a small task.  Each Thursday, approximately 10-12 volunteers arrive at The Center (some as early as midnight) to start making donuts.  The Center has two donut machines, each of which can produce 50 dozen donuts each hour.  On an average week, the donut machines are done frying between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m.  As the donuts are made and cooled, volunteers begin the frosting and dipping with the vanilla and chocolate icing.  The boxing of the customers’ orders takes place throughout the frosting and dipping stages.  The customers begin arriving to pick up their pre-orders any time after 5:30 am with walk-in customers arriving throughout the morning.  Walk-in customers have the opportunity to purchase from 1 donut to 3 dozen donuts until The Center’s donuts are all sold.  If a customer wants more than 3 dozen donuts they must pre-order by phoning The Center at 218-829-9345 or order online at   On a daily basis the public can also come to The Center and enjoy a cup of coffee and a single donut for $1. Typically, the donut day is wrapped up by 10 am with volunteers gone and the kitchen cleaned and sanitized ready for the next Thursday.

The weekly donut sales are one of the main fundraising functions for The Center.  The Gift Shop at the north end of The Center provides income also.  The handmade one-of-a-kind merchandise offered for sale is made by The Center members, who also volunteer and staff The Center Gift Shop.  Additional income is realized from the spring plant sale, The fundraising events are organized and staffed mainly by volunteers which support the 55 weekly offerings available at The Center.  DeAnn Barry, Executive Director of The Center mentioned the 2nd Monday Night Dinner is a joint effort usually with an area youth group and staff.  The group assisting The Center also benefits financially.  The majority of the fundraising dollars are used to keep The Center in operation  are combined with a City of Brainerd mill levy and a City of Baxter contribution.

The mission of The Center is:  Encouraging mature adults to engage in healthy living, socialization, life-long learning and community connections. 

Our volunteer hours have a great impact on the successful operation of The Center.  In 2019 our volunteers logged 16,000 hours.  That makes it easier for The Center’s staff of 3 full time employees and 2 part time employees to carry out its mission with direction of a 13-member Board of Directors.  Volunteers and members have the opportunity to suggest and implement new and different activities for membership participation.  The Center strives to be the community focal point on aging; a place where mature adults can meet and participate in activities, classes, programs and services which will support their independence and enhance their dignity and quality of life.

For the most current information on donuts, volunteering and membership or programs of The Center, check out our website at or facebook page at  The Center may reached at 218-829-9345, email at or visit The Center at 803 Kingwood Street in Brainerd.