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When Juniper Village at Spicewood Summit joined the rest of the long-term care industry in closing its doors during the pandemic, Connections Director Shelly Herrera came up with a sweet idea.

Four weeks into the pandemic, Herrera upped her snack delivery game by dressing up in a unique costume and bringing a Krispy Kreme doughnut to each resident every Wednesday. Over the next 59 weeks, Herrera donned 59 costumes as she delivered doughnuts to residents at the Austin, TX, assisted living and skilled care community to cheer them up.

On “Donut Day,” Herrera has dressed as a slice of pizza, a snack machine and a doughnut, of course.

“After seeing their faces light up with the doughnut, I told them we could do doughnuts every Wednesday until our doors reopened,” Herrera said. “And during a period in which days just keep rolling one into the next, it has also helped residents keep track of the days of the week. They now love to remind on Tuesday what the next day is.”

Herrera began taking photos with each resident and sending the pictures to families to help them feel connected and know that their loved ones were being cared for during social isolation.

“Some of the best recent photos of Mom are the ones the Juniper staff sends me on Donut Day. She always has a big smile,” said Laura Wright, a family member. “Seeing that smile, especially during the many months I couldn’t visit her in person, helped relieve my mind and made me feel like we would make it through the tough months ahead.”

One Juniper employee said that Donut Day makes residents “feel appreciated and loved.”

“It’s fun for them, and we all love and can’t wait to see the costumes that come as a surprise to all of us,” the employee said. “We love Donut Day and look forward to Wednesday every week.”

Residents said the donut deliveries remind them of their childhood and provided a nice break in routine. Donut Day was so popular that the community’s Resident Council voted to continue it.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Donut Day. To celebrate, the Krispy Kreme truck will roll into Juniper Village at Spicewood Summit to treat families, residents and associates to a doughnut and another costume. 

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