As the midday sun beat down on the facade of the Stop & Shop in Hampton Bays, Vincent Primavera sat by the supermarket’s west entrance clad in a blue T-shirt, gray sweatpants and clear plastic garbage bag, ready to have whipped cream shoved in his face, all in the name of charity.The 23-year-old grocery store employee was soliciting $1 donations and, in return, those who gave to his cause were able to slap him in the face with a paper plate full of Reddi-wip on Saturday morning as part of the grocery store’s campaign to raise money for childhood cancer research at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
For the past 13 years, Stop & Shop stores have held annual drives to raise money for the prestigious hospital, generally by taking donations at cash registers or through other fundraisers, like the bake sale that was also held on Saturday afternoon.
But last year, Mr. Primavera came up with the idea of letting people pie him in exchange for a donation. An estimated 60 people participated last year.
“Me, being a child of the ’90s, growing up watching ‘Double Dare,’ it was something that always looked like fun,” he said of being pied in the face. “Stop & Shop gives to this charity every year—this is just my way of helping out.”
This past year, Mr. Primavera, a Hampton Bays native who now lives in Southold, expanded his charitable efforts by playing “East Egg Russian Roulette,” in which people made donations to crack an egg on his face. The catch: Some of the eggs were hard-boiled. Proceeds from both that event, and Saturday’s fundraiser, will go toward the store’s goal of raising $10,000 for Sloan Kettering by next month, store manager Willa Kagan said.
Although Ms. Kagan declined to say how much money has been brought in thus far this year, citing corporate policy, she said Mr. Primavera putting his face in the line of fire demonstrates how committed the three-year employee is to his job and the charity.
“Vinny goes above and beyond, obviously, by getting pies thrown in his face,” she said. “He does a lot for the store.”
While not everyone was eager throw a pie at his face, Mr. Primavera was able to entice several co-workers and passersby to participate, including his parents, Lou and Arlene Primavera of Hampton Bays.
Both parents paid for a pie and gave their son a double dose, slapping one on each side of his face.
“Even though he’s a goofball with egg or whipped cream on his face at any given time, I’m still proud of him,” Ms. Primavera said.
She added that her son has always been one to step up for charitable causes.
“He’s the best,” the older Mr. Primavera said. “He really puts his heart into it.”