CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (TN Tribune) – To continue the fight of eradicating polio globally, 162 Dunkin’ locations across the Southeast and Midwest recently partnered with area Rotary districts to raise funds and awareness through its Purple Pinkie Day fundraiser. From the one-day fundraiser, the participating Dunkin’ restaurants and area Rotary districts raised more than $1.3 Million to benefit Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. 

As part of the fundraiser, Rotarians who donated $25 to End Polio Now in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Kansas, and Tennessee received a box Purple Pinkie Donuts as a thank you. As an added bonus for each $25 donation, Rotary districts donated $37.50 and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matched with $125, for a total donation of $187.50. 

Bluemont Group LLC and the Catalano Group Bakeries, along with Dunkin’ restaurants in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee donated over 70,000 Purple Pinkie Donuts to allow 100 percent of the $1.3 Million proceeds to benefit End Polio Now. 

In 2018, Dunkin’ and Tennessee Rotary launched the Purple Pinkie Donut fundraiser in 30 Dunkin’ restaurants throughout Tennessee in efforts to support End Polio Now! To date, the Dunkin’ and Rotary promotion has raised more than $4.5 Million to benefit End Polio Now in recognition of World Polio Day.  

“As both a Dunkin’ Franchisee and a Rotarian, I am honored to help bring two great organizations together in the fight to eradicate Polio worldwide,” said Dave Baumgartner, President of Dunkin’ Franchisee Network, Bluemont Group LLC and member of the Rotary Club of Knoxville. “Between the passion of our crew members and incredible generosity from our local communities, we are proud of the tremendous impact our fundraiser has in the fight to eradicate polio worldwide.”  

In countries where the threat of polio remains, children receive their polio vaccine via drops in the mouth, rather than injection, 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. The mark turns brown and lasts for one month allowing vaccinators to check a child’s finger to determine whether they have already received the vaccine.  

More than one million Rotary members have donated their time and personal resources to end polio. Every year, hundreds of Rotarians work side-by-side with health workers to vaccinate children in polio-affected countries.  

Rotary is committed to raising $50 million a year to be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, yielding $150 million for polio eradication activities every year. To date, Rotary has contributed more than $2.1 billion to fight the disease, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation. 

Today, the wild polio virus remains endemic only in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Mozambique, with a confirmed case (VDPV2) in New York this past year. It’s crucial now to continue eradication efforts to keep other countries polio-free. If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year. But as long as a single child has polio, all children are at risk, which underscores the need for ongoing funding for polio eradication activities. To learn more about how the Rotary Club has helped in the fight to End Polio Now, head to www.rotary.org/en/our-causes/ending-polio.  

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