Free doughnut campaign inspires man to give back to charity

Many businesses and government agencies have used incentives to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
One man from New Jersey turned a doughnut chain’s offer for a free doughnut into a daily ritual that he is now using to pay it forward and help others.
Joe Caramagna, of Bergen County, has been going to the Paramus Krispy Kreme just about every day since the chain started offering free doughnuts to anyone who can provide proof that they are vaccinated against the virus. He has so far had 141 doughnuts.
“I kind of have a reputation for loving doughnuts. And people started asking me, ‘Are you going to go there every day?’ And I said, ‘Well I love doughnuts and they’re giving free ones, so it’s stupid not to,’” he says.
Caramagna says he has his sights on 200 doughnuts before Krispy Kreme’s free doughnut incentive runs out at the end of the year. He works from home as a writer for Marvel Comics and walks a few miles a day for exercise. He decided to add a little detour over the Route 4 pedestrian bridge and through a few parking lots to get his doughnut fix.
“I only expected to get maybe two or three by the end of the year and then they opened this place up, just under a mile from my house,” he says.
After a few dozen doughnuts, Caramagna turned his daily routine into an opportunity for charity. Caramagna began tweeting about his daily doughnut run, hoping it might in some small way encourage others to get the vaccine.
He then began taking the dollar he saved each day and donating it to the Ronald McDonald House. It is a charity that has been close to his heart ever since his daughter was hospitalized as a newborn 17 years ago.
“That really stuck with me, how lucky we were. Especially since she came out of it OK,” he says.
His “Joe Dollars to Donuts” campaign has so far raised $2,500.
“Full circle, kind of paying it forward in the community where Krispy Kreme is, as a thank you, I suppose, for providing me all these free doughnuts,” Caramagna says.
Caramagna will donate the funds to the Ronald McDonald House in Salem, North Carolina, because that is where Krispy Kreme is based.