Cronuts for a Cause: Celebs Join Forces to Help NYC Hunger Charity

11/14/2013 at 03:54 PM ET

Celebrity Cronut Auction
Janette Beckman

On November 18, Heidi Klum, Jonathan Adler and dozens of other celebrities will harness the power of the Cronut for the greater good.

People are still lining up every morning in front of NYC bakery Dominique Ansel to snag the croissant-doughnut hybrid (yes, in 35-degree temps!). But what if you could get a special Thanksgiving Cronut without braving the line—and help out a great charity at the same time?

To raise money for God’s Love We Deliver, one of the New York area’s leading meal-delivery charities, Cronut mastermind Ansel and DwellStudio founder Christiane Lemiuex are collaborating on a nine-day online auction called The Cronut Mission, with celebs like Klum, Adler, Joan Rivers and Simon Doonan.

What can you bid on? Cronuts, of course, but not just any old Cronuts. For the highest bidders, Ansel has created an exclusive Thanksgiving version filled with pumpkin cream and topped with 24-karat gold leaves. Each prize package will contain two of the sought-after treats packed in one-of-a-kind autographed containers designed and donated by the participating celebs.

Given how high bidding will likely go, that gold leaf will be hard-earned: Although Ansel and Lemiuex don’t have any firm fundraising goals, a dozen Cronuts fetched $14,000 at a recent auction for City Harvest, an NYC food bank. And that was without celebrity-designed boxes!

True to form, Klum’s Cronut container is pretty and bejeweled; Adler has done a crisp, colorful graphic pattern; and Rivers’s reads “Yum.” There are also boxes signed by cast members from six different Broadway shows, including Cinderella and Pippin.

Celebrity Cronut Auction Heidi Klum
Janette Beckman

Celebrity Cronut Auction Jonathan Adler
Janette Beckman

Celebrity Cronut Auction Cinderella
Janette Beckman

What’s unusual about this fundraising idea is that it was born on Twitter, not hashed out in an office or at a lunch meeting. One rainy summer day in SoHo, Lemiuex marveled at the Cronut line while walking to work. Like hundreds before her, she decided to Instagram it.

Fashion designer Peter Som responded that he’d love one, and jokes followed about trading dresses for Cronuts (“it would be 20 dresses for a cronut based on the demand!” replied Som). Since they’d both also looped in Ansel, he offered Cronuts for a worthy cause—and the rest is social media history.

God’s Love We Deliver, like Ansel’s bakery, is in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood, and it’s tough to deny the irony of a hunger charity being so close to the spot where people wait hours for Cronut cred. “God’s Love is just down the street and there is a poetic symmetry to that,” says Lemieux. “This has been one of the most inspiring projects I’ve worked on because it has all of my passions: Helping people, amazing food and fantastic design. I never knew giving could be so gorgeous,” she tells PEOPLE.

Klum, who admits to eating “a Cronut or two” during the design process, tells PEOPLE she was thrilled to be a part of the initiative. “I had so much fun bejeweling my carrier and this is such a sweet way for people to give back while getting their sweet fix,” she says.

The Bidding Owl auction starts November 18 and ends November 26. Winners, who must live in the New York area, will have their pair of Cronuts hand-delivered on Thanksgiving morning. This begs the ethical question: Are you obligated to share your booty with visiting relatives during Thanksgiving dinner, or is it acceptable keep it for yourself?

—Lexi Dwyer

FILED UNDER: Dominique Ansel , Food

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