A dollar a donut a day: a man’s quest for vaccination
Joe Caramagna, a man who searches for “donuts near me” when he travels, had never lived within walking distance of a donut store. It was a problem.
But one April morning, he walked near his home in Paramus, New Jersey, and saw a building, written in crisp red cursive script, a sign he never thought he saw in less than a kilometer and a half. “Krispy Kreme,” one reads.
The chain had recently announced that those vaccinated could get one free frozen donut per day until the end of the year. Caramagna had received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine a few days earlier.
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“It was kismet,” he said.
Realizing that the stars had aligned and thrown him into the vacant center of his donut-obsessed world, he decided to channel his sweet cravings into a bigger purpose.
Caramagna, a comic book author whose fans give him donuts at conventions, made it his mission this Spring Day: he would eat one free Krispy Kreme donut a day until the end of the year. For every donut eaten, he would donate a dollar to charity. He chose the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Piedmont Triad, a non-profit organization that helps children access medical care and supports their families.
On a GoFundMe page where he raised around $ 500, he says that beyond trying to encourage people to get vaccinated, he hopes others will “DOUGH-nate (har har)” at the Manor. Ronald McDonald of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the city where Krispy Kreme is based.
Caramagna, 45, is among thousands of people across the country and around the world who have launched their own small vaccination campaigns. They hope to persuade even a few people to get vaccinated, to raise money for charity or, at the very least, to give their friends and neighbors some joy in a dark time.
Supporters of such vaccination campaigns include the stars of TikTok and the Biden administration. States offered incentives such as high-stakes lotteries, free beer, and $ 100 payouts. Although Caramagna said he didn’t believe many unvaccinated people had changed their minds just by watching him post pictures of the free donut # 57 (glazed) or # 73 (also glazed), he hoped to less help a non-profit organization through this. “silly” and “silly” effort.
“I don’t know if I changed my mind about the vaccine, but I know that I certainly convinced people to go see Krispy Kreme,” he said. “To have a mission every day, no matter what, I have to go get the donut – I mean, it’s silly, but I feel like I’m doing something positive in this world that probably could. use a little positivity. “
Caramagna, a bearded, bespectacled father of three with a self-deprecating sense of humor, originally planned to reach 125 free donuts by December 31. But with four months left on the schedule, he’s already made it over 90 and now wants to see how much he can tidy up.
His Instagram page, where fans of his Marvel and Disney comics frequently tag him, is a collage of kooky donut trinkets. There’s the donut tree ornament, the donut shirts, a donut mug, another donut mug and, of course, dozens of Krispy Kreme donuts.
After seeing Donut # 5 (or 6) lying cold on the kitchen counter at home, his wife, Amy, turned to him and said, “Oh, so that’s what we do. now ? The Krispy Kreme employees recognize him now, he said, making him feel “like a VIP” when they hand him his donut online, no questions asked. And his doctor recently told him he’s healthy, giving him food clearance for when the Krispy Kreme app informs him that the donuts are “hot and fresh.”
An original glazed donut at Krispy Kreme contains 190 calories. According to Caramagna’s Apple Watch, he burns 96 calories each way as he walks to retrieve the donut.
“So I’m actually in deficit,” he said. “But I don’t encourage others to do that.”
Since March 22, Krispy Kreme has donated more than 2 million frozen donuts, said Casandra Williams, a spokesperson for the company. Williams said Krispy Kreme was “all about sharing the joy, and we love when our guests rely on our efforts to give back their way.”
Mindy Bloom, director of development for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Piedmont Triad, said in a statement that “like the Marvel superheroes he writes about,” Caramagna is a “hero, and we are inspired by his creativity and his concern for our families. . “
Caramagna, who said he was more like an old man who walks in the mall in the morning, said he was happy to play a small role in helping the organization, which Bloom says has “Encountered unforeseen and unbudgeted expenses” due to the pandemic.
Caramagna specifically wanted to help Ronald McDonald House because her eldest daughter, now 17, was born with meconium aspiration syndrome, a respiratory disease that is a leading cause of death in newborns, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Her daughter was in intensive care for almost a month before recovering. Years later, he learned what Ronald McDonald House is doing to help families go through what he and his wife went through when their daughter was ill.
“We noticed that there were a lot of families who slept in waiting rooms and slept on chairs just so that they could be there in the hospital with their children, and that always marked me,” Caramagna said. , remembering how lucky he had been. live near the hospital at the time.
His good fortune has remained during the pandemic, he said, even when he and his wife contracted a mild infection with COVID-19 last spring.
Now, he said, he has his morning walks to look forward to. He has a new daily routine.
And, more importantly, he has around 100 empty donut bags to prove he’s vaccinated.
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