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Eight Panera Bakery Cafes In Rhode Island Donate $6,834 To Feeding America Partner, RI Community Food Bank

Eight Panera Bakery Cafes In Rhode Island Donate $6,834 To Feeding America Partner, RI Community Food Bank

WAKEFIELD, RI, June 24, 2014 — Through Panera Bread’s partnership with Feeding America®, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief agency, all eight of its bakery-cafes in Rhode Island (Cranston, East Greenwich, Lincoln, Newport, Providence, Smithfield, Wakefield and Warwick) announce a donation of $6,384.80 to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, a Feeding America® member food bank based in Providence.  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 the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and the other half donated as cash to support the Food Bank’s efforts to provide quality, nutritious food to Rhode Islanders in need.  The eight 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 Ruth Devitt, a General Manager and member of the franchise’s Living Consciously Committee, presented the check to Lisa Roth Blackman, Chief Philanthropy Officer and Cindy Elder, Director of Communications, both with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.  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.

“Thanks to our relationship with Feeding America, we’re so excited that half of this donation will supply the Rhode Island Community Food Bank with the same soup served in our cafes so they can, in turn, make it available it to their partner organizations that are providing assistance to those who are hungry,” said Panera’s Devitt.  She added that Panera Catering will help launch the Rhode Island Community Food Bank's Summer Food Drive on June 27th by providing complimentary breakfast for the guests at the kick-off.  This special event recognizes local food companies that are donating thousands of pounds of food, including the black bean soup from Panera Bread.  The event is also attended by Food Bank supporters, including children and teens who have taken a leadership role in assisting the Food Bank.

“These donations are yet more evidence that “Panera Cares’ about those who are facing food insecurity every day in the state,” said Andrew Schiff, Chief Executive Officer, Rhode Island Community Food Bank.  “We will certainly make sure their delicious soups and the rest of the funds go directly to helping those in our neighborhoods who are in need.”

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.

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is an innovative leader in solving the problem of hunger.  In partnership with its member agencies, as well as government and community leaders, it works to try and ensure that no one in Rhode Island goes hungry. Since 1982, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank has solicited, stored and distributed surplus food and grocery products to qualified member agency programs that serve Rhode Island's hungry.  Last fiscal year, 9.7 million pounds of food were distributed to the community through its network of 238 member agency food programs across Rhode Island.

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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