Breaking Bread

Years ago when I worked for a non-profit, Panera Bread® helped us to fuel our runners,walkers and volunteers for our annual walk/run fundraiser and we continued to reach out to the local restaurant for a few years after and they came through with donations every time. Besides offering good service and great tasting food, Panera Bread® reaches past the kitchen to care for the community. Through a series of community outreach initiatives,  Panera Bread® demonstrates the spirit of giving in the communities where they have a presence.


“For more than three years, the Panera Bread® Foundation has been working on developing these non-profit community cafes of shared responsibility.

Warm Food, Warm Experience
At Panera Cares community cafes, patrons find the same menu one would find at a for-profit Panera Bread ® bakery- café. But instead of prices, suggested donation amounts are posted on the menu panels. Customers are asked to contribute what they can in the donation bins – whether that’s more, less, or equal to the suggested amount. Diners who do not have the means to donate can contribute by signing up for a volunteer shift if they choose.  The first Panera Cares community café opened in May 2010 in Clayton, Missouri. Three more followed in Dearborn, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and Chicago, Illinois. A fifth location is expected to open in early 2013. The goal of the cafes is to be self-sustaining –to generate enough donations to cover all direct operating costs while being able to cover the cost of meals of those in need of a hand up. “

Job Training:

In Missouri, while partnering with Covenant House, Panera has developed a job training program for at-risk young people to help them to be prepared for the workplace with valuable work experience and life skills.

“At Panera Bread®, we believe in giving back to local communities.”

Operation Dough-Nation Programs– Beginning in 1992, Operation Dough-Nation began as a way to connect to the community. Now it’s expanded to include four other activities: Community Breadbox™ cash collection boxes, the Day-End Dough-Nation™ program, Panera/SCRIP Card fundraising and participation in community events.

breadCommunity Breadbox– Panera will match a portion of the cash donations made by customers in  the bakery- café and distribute the funds collected to local non-profit organizations, to help meet basic necessities for the needy in the community.

Day-End Dough-Nation – At the end of each day, Panera Bread donates all unsold bread and baked goods to local area hunger relief agencies and charities. One of the organizations who benefit from this program is Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

SCRIP Fundraising – Non-profit organizations are able to pre-purchase $10 Panera Card® gift cards at a 9% discounted rate and then re-sell the Panera Cards at full price.

 Community Events– They make in-kind donations to organizations for events such as raffles, auctions, or run/walks.

Learn more about what Panera Bread is doing at

Casually speaking and all the best,


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