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Twelve Panera Bakery-Cafes In Greater Hartford Area Donate $7,201 To Feeding America Partner, Foodshare

ENFIELD, CT, June 24, 2014 — Through Panera Bread’s partnership with Feeding America®, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief agency, all twelve of its bakery-cafes in the greater Hartford, Connecticut area (Bristol, Buckland Hills, Canton, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Southington, West Hartford and Wethersfield) announce a donation of $7,201.23 to Foodshare, a Feeding America® member food bank based in Bloomfield, Connecticut.  The donation, which represents funds raised from last fall through Panera’s National Volunteer Month in April, were collected as part of the cafes’ ongoing Panera Cares Community Breadbox™ Program which gives customers the opportunity to provide cash donations at the register with half designated to help fund Panera soup procurement for Foodshare and the other half donated as cash to support the food bank’s efforts to provide quality, nutritious food to greater Hartford residents in need.  The twelve participating Panera Bread bakery-cafes are owned and operated by Panera Bread franchisee, Howley Bread Group, LTD based in Cumberland, Rhode Island.

Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group’s Kristin Wroblewski, a General Manager and a member of the franchise’s Living Consciously Committee, and Andrea Morel, an Associate and Living Consciously Captain, presented the check to Jordan Nyberg, Events Coordinator at Foodshare.  The Living Consciously Committee includes a general manager from each Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group district who helps execute ideas and integrate programs that give back to the local communities Panera serves.  Living Consciously Captains are responsible for making a difference within their respective cafes and the towns they serve by helping to organize volunteer events and food drives, as well as maintain food-packaging guidelines for Panera’s “Day-End” program where leftover bread, bagels and pastries are picked up from the bakery-cafes and distributed by local non-profit partners to those in need.

“Thanks to our relationship with Feeding America, we’re so excited that half of this donation will supply Foodshare with the same soup served in our cafes so they can, in turn, make it available it to their partner organizations providing assistance to those who are hungry,” said Panera’s Wroblewski.  She added that, on the same day of the check presentation, a Panera Peanut Butter Food Drive was held in the Bristol bakery-cafe which encouraged Panera employee to donate a jar of peanut butter for the opportunity to wear jeans to work that day.  All the food generated as part of the food drive was also donated to Foodshare.

“This donation is yet more evidence that “Panera Cares’ about those who are facing food insecurity every day in the Hartford area,” said Gloria McAdam, President & CEO of Foodshare.  “We will certainly make sure their delicious soups and the rest of the funds go directly to helping those in our neighborhoods who are hungry.”

Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States.  Through its network, Feeding America provides food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in communities across America.  Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people it serves; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.

Foodshare, a member of Feeding America, engages the 42 towns of the greater Hartford region 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 nearly 12 million meals annually to 128,000 hungry neighbors, including 50,000 children and 10,000 seniors.

Howley Bread Group, LTD based in Cumberland, Rhode Island is one of Panera Bread’s top franchises in the country.  The franchisee owns and operates a total of twenty-eight bakery-cafes in Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and Greater Hartford/Eastern Connecticut markets.  For more information, please contact wendy.kopp@panerabread.com 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 more!

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