ENFIELD, CT, September 26, 2013 — In concert with Feeding America’s “Hunger Action Month” eleven Panera Bread bakery-cafes in the greater Hartford, Connecticut area (Bristol, Buckland Hills, Canton, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, West Hartford and Wethersfield) announce that Foodshare, a Feeding America® member food bank based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, will be the recipient of all the funds collected through the cafes’ ongoing Panera Cares Community Breadbox™ Program. The Program gives customers the opportunity to donate money at the counter to support the food bank’s efforts to provide nutritious food to those in need in the greater Hartford area. The eleven participating Panera Bread bakery-cafes are owned and operated by Panera Bread franchisee, Howley Bread Group, LTD based in Cumberland, Rhode Island.
This commitment is part of Panera Bread’s ongoing effort to combat the problem of hunger in America. For years, Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group has donated all unsold bread and baked goods each night to local Connecticut food pantries and other organizations that provide hunger relief through its Day-End Dough-Nation™ program. Collectively, the Panera Bread bakery-cafes across the country donated approximately $100 million worth of retail bread and baked goods in 2012 making the per cafe average annual bread donation approximately $146,000. With this average in mind, the eleven Panera Bread/HBG bakery cafes in the greater Hartford area provide a total annual food donation of approximately $1,606,000.
“We’ve been focused on doing our part to help those in need in Connecticut for some time now with our Day-End Dough-Nation Program and numerous food drives,” said Bahjat Shariff, Vice President of Operations for Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group. “When Panera announced its commitment to Feeding America, we were happy to know that these dollars would go directly to Foodshare which distributes food to agencies serving the hungry throughout the greater Hartford area. In addition to the financial support, the Panera Foundation will also help source higher quality food for local food banks to offer. This partnership means we now have the pieces in place to make an even greater impact on the food insecurity problem that continues to persist in the state.” Shariff added that Howley Bread Group has a volunteer day planned in late September to further engage its associates with Panera’s efforts to fight local hunger during “Hunger Action Month” and throughout the year.
According to a 2012 “Map the Meal Gap” study, nearly
14 percent or 493,020 of Connecticut’s residents are food insecure, and it
would take nearly $232 million to meet the needs of the state’s food insecure
population, or $16 per week for each food insecure person. These figures are an increase over the
previous year’s data which showed a 12.3 percent food insecurity rate.
“With food insecurity in our state continuing to
rise, it is vitally important for us to have supporters like Panera Bread and
Howley Bread Group,” says Gloria McAdam, President & CEO of Foodshare. “On behalf of all those in the greater
Hartford area who struggle to put food on the table, I offer most sincere
thanks and appreciation for this new, consistent source of income for
Foodshare. This is a great community
partnership that allows Panera’s customers to play a key role in helping
families in their own communities.”
Foodshare and Panera Bread encourage Connecticut
residents to do their part to fight food insecurity during Feeding America’s
“Hunger Action Month”. The many
activities in which an individual or business can engage are: wear orange to
show support for hunger relief; donate a portion of the daily proceeds from a
business to fight hunger; organize a neighborhood food drive; post a picture/tag
a picture on Facebook to call attention to Hunger Action Month; send an email
to your friends about Hunger Action Month; donate a grocery store gift card to
a local food bank; volunteer at a local food bank, pantry or shelter; or see if
your employer will match employee donations to a local food bank, pantry or
shelter during Hunger Action Month.
Feeding America secures and supplies more than 2 billion pounds of nationally donated food and grocery products annually to its network of 200 food banks across the country. Foodshare, a member of Feeding America, engages the greater Hartford region which consists of all 42 towns of Hartford and Tolland Counties for the purpose of distributing food and increasing self-sufficiency. As Central Connecticut’s regional food bank, Foodshare is the liaison between the food industry and nearly 300 partner programs, including soup kitchens, emergency shelters and food pantries across the region. As Foodshare receives food donations from wholesalers and private individuals, these partner programs receive food from Foodshare to help hungry individuals and families in their respective areas. By working closely with businesses, schools, faith groups and government agencies, Foodshare also seeks to increase awareness of hunger within its coverage area. Foodshare distributes enough food to provide more than 11 million meals annually to 128,000 hungry neighbors, including 50,000 children and 10,000 seniors.
Panera Bread locations are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer a
variety of menu items, including breads and bagels, breakfast sandwiches,
creative lunch and dinner sandwiches, pastas, hand-tossed salads, homemade
soups and a variety of espresso beverages. Panera Bread Catering also caters
and delivers its full menu for any occasion at the office or home. The breakfast, lunch and dinner assortment is
sure to impress every time. For a Panera
Bread Catering menu and more, please
visit the cafe or www.paneracatering.com.
Bread Group, LTD based in Cumberland, RI is one of Panera Bread’s top
franchises in the country. The
franchisee owns and operates a total of twenty-six bakery-cafes in RI,
Southeastern MA and Greater Hartford/Eastern CT markets. For more information, please
or visit the company’s web site at www.panerabreadhbg.com. Also, like HBG on Facebook at /howleybreadgroup and follow the company on Twitter
@panerabreadhbg to hear about upcoming new and returning menu items, community
involvement and events, employment opportunities, their Panera culture and much