Purple Pinkie donuts help eradicate polio

Tom KingFarragut

Purple Pinkie donuts from David Baumgartner’s Dunkin’ Donuts stores will be all over Knoxville and Knox County come Tuesday, Oct. 20 – the date of the 2020 Dunkin’ Donut Purple Pinkie Donut Day.


The Rotary Club of Farragut’s Rotarians, Rotarians from Knoxville’s other five clubs and Rotarians throughout the state are busy ordering donuts with one thing in mind – to raise $1 million to eradicate polio from our world.

Two war-ravaged countries still have polio – Afghanistan and Pakistan. Three decades ago, polio paralyzed 1,000 children a day in 125 countries. Today, there are less than 100 cases of wild poliovirus across Pakistan and Afghanistan. But as long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk. Plus, it is a well-known saying that the United States “is a jet plane ride away from having polio return here.”

Why purple pinkies donuts? In countries where the threat of polio remains, children receive polio vaccine via drops in the mouth, rather than injections, allowing millions of children to be vaccinated in a short period of time. Vaccinating so many children can be difficult to document, so when each child is vaccinated, they have the pinkie fingernail of their left hand painted with a permanent purple marker – thus the purple pinkie donuts.

Last year Rotary District 6780 in East Tennessee and its 64 clubs raised $540,000 and that success led to this year’s $1 million goal.

Baumgartner, a member of the Rotary Club of Knoxville, and his marketing director, Margo Hughes, came up with this fundraising idea four years ago.

“We started this project because I wanted our company to have a greater purpose than just retail sales and I’ve been teaching our employees Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self,” Baumgartner explained.

On October 20 each Dunkin’ Donut location will have a quantity of Purple Pinkie Donuts available for walk-up customers to purchase, either individually or in boxes. However, to ensure adequate supply with minimal waste, they are strongly encouraging pre-orders, which they can do here.

If you are not in Rotary but want to order donuts to help eliminate polio worldwide, click here to order the donuts.

To explore membership in the Rotary Club of Farragut, email tking535@gmail.com or call 865-659-3562. Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers.

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