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West Hartford's Panera Bread Collects Gifts for The Bridge

More than 30 gifts were collected for families served by The Bridge as part of Panera's annual holiday gift drive.

West Hartford's Panera Bread made the holidays brighter for families served by The Bridge Family Center with a collection of more than 30 presents were collected from Panera customers and employees. Wendy Kopp, director of marketing at Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group presented the gifts to The Bridge Executive Director Margaret Hann last week.

For the third consecutive year, customers participated in the Holiday Gift Drive by simply going to the counter at their local Panera, selecting a gift tag with a specific child’s first name on it, and then purchasing the “wish list” items noted.  Each gift tag was special with a different child, age and list of gifts on it. Gifts were then brought back to the respective cafes by participating customers early last week in a gift bag with the gift tag attached.

The Bridge Family Center is a comprehensive, nonprofit agency offering a range of services to children, youth and families in the Greater Hartford area, with particular attention to those at risk.  For more information, please call (860) 521-8035.

The participating bakery-cafes and their non-profit partners are as follows: Waterford and Groton, CT are partnering with the Riverfront Children’s Center based in Groton; Lisbon, CT is working with the United Community & Family Services in Jewett City, CT; Newington, Wethersfield, Farmington, Bristol and Canton, CT are participating with Place of Grace based in Hartford, CT; bakery-cafes in Glastonbury, Manchester (Deming Street) and Manchester (Shoppes at Buckland Hills), CT are working with the ECHN Family Development Center in Manchester; West Hartford, CT is participating with The Bridge Family Center in West Hartford; Enfield, CT is teaming up with The Enfield Food Shelf; North Dartmouth, MA is partnering with Child & Family Services in New Bedford, MA; and cafes in Wakefield, Newport, East Greenwich, Warwick, Cranston, Smithfield and Providence, RI and Seekonk, North Attleborough and Plainville, MA are working in tandem with Children’s Friend based in Providence.  All twenty-four Panera Bread bakery-cafes are owned and operated by Howley Bread Group based in Cumberland, RI.

Over the past 10 years, Panera Bread/HBG has helped collect and donate over $648,453 to its five Operation Dough-Nation charity partners, as well as contributions to Haiti Relief, local hurricane and tornado relief through the American Red Cross and breast cancer awareness through the company’s Pink Ribbon Bagel campaign with area hospital partners.  Panera Bread/HBG has also donated $3 million dollars a year in bakery items to churches, shelters and food pantries as part of its “Day End” program.

Panera Bread/HBG has a Donations Department where organizations can request food donations for various non-profit fundraisers and events.  Please visit www.panerabreadhbg.com and click on “Donations, Partnerships and Charities” to request a donation.

Submitted by Panera Bread

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