Panera Holiday Campaign raises more than $182,000 for our neighbors in need

Kelly Gaines makes donationIn November, Panera Bread launched their Holiday campaign to help fight hunger in Central Florida. With the support of their customers, Panera raised more than $182,000! Everything raised will help Second Harvest distribute much-needed food to pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior programs and low-income daycares.

During the campaign, Panera customers and associates throughout Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake Counties were invited to make donations during their checkout. These generous contributions were matched dollar for dollar by Panera.

To add further incentive, Gavin and Annette Ford – Central Florida’s Panera Bread franchise owners –launched a second phase of the campaign to ensure a strong finish. From December 26th-31st, Panera awarded each donor of $5 or more with a mystery scratch gift card – guaranteed to be valued between $5 and $200. On The first day of the second phase, an anonymous donor gave a check for $62,500!!!

“We wanted to make donating to Second Harvest a no-brainer and a win-win for our customers,” said Ford. “This promotion allows us to give each $5+ donor their money back in the form of a gift card. Together, with our customers, Panera is proud to be going the extra mile to help fight hunger and bring hope to families this holiday season.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one in six Americans and one in four children struggle with food insecurity (defined as limited or uncertain access to adequate food). Over the last 12 months, over 50 million Americans could not afford to buy food at one time or another; 17 million Americans were chronically forced to skip meals.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with Panera to support our mutual goals of providing nutritious food to those in need. This donation will help us provide many meals to those in need,” said Dave Krepcho, president and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank. Panera’s Holiday campaign is also an extremely effective vehicle to raise greater awareness about the issue of hunger. We at Second Harvest are very grateful for the partnership.

Last year alone, Panera Bread locations throughout Central Florida, owned by the Fords, donated nearly $500,000 to local charitable organizations like Second Harvest.

Panera and Second Harvest will continue to seek additional ways to partner with the goal of harnessing the power of Panera Bread locations in Central Florida to raise awareness and understanding about hunger.

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