Brian Blum
December 28, 2011
Elie Klein the donut guy

Elie Klein is at it again. Last year, the 31-year-old Anglo public relations account executive chowed down 70 sufganiyot (Hanukah donuts) for charity, raising over $9,000 for 44 causes around the world. This year, he set a goal of eating 100 donuts and, in the process, has raised over $10,000. As of this morning – with still a day of donut eating left to go, he’s reached the 101 mark.

To put that in perspective, if each sufganiya contains approximately 400 calories, that’s over 40,000 calories consumed for charity. We sure hope his arteries aren’t already flowing with Krispy Kreme.

Klein’s adventures in edible oil began two years ago as a “gentleman’s bet” between friends over who could eat more sufganiyot during the Hanukah season. Klein quickly realized that he could line up financial “pledges” from friends and family for each donut eaten, much like charity races raise money per kilometer run or pedaled.

Klein has run most of his “Dough for Donuts” campaign via Facebook – regular status posts update supporters on what he’s eaten and where the money is going. Yesterday, for example, funds went to two groups: Ramot for the Environment and Ahavas Yisrael of Baltimore.

Other organizations Klein has backed – this year the tally reached 47 groups –  include well known charities such as Zaka, Melabev, Meir Panim, and a variety of “Yad’s” – Yad Binyamin, Yad Eliezer, Yad L’Achim, Yad Sarah, and more. A full list can be found on Klein’s Facebook “event.”

One thing copiously absent from Klein’s postings: which sufganiyot he’s eating. Is he going for super gourmet award winners like those from the English Cake and Roladin bakeries (with its vodka double espresso “chaser”), or the more humble supermarket variety? The price difference is not insignificant: the over the top donuts can reach 8 shekels each, while a plain blob of fried dough and artificial jelly can be had for as low as 1-2 shekels.

Although I’d like to think that, if he’s going to be scarfing up all those sufganiyot, he at least ought to please his taste buds along the way, I hate to think of him eating up all the profits. Either way, Klein has shown that an individual really can make a difference – the charities he’s supported can attest to that. Perhaps they’ll throw him a party to celebrate. But please, serve carrots for dessert!

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Jason Harris

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