For Hometown News
In November, Panera Bread launched the Hope for the Holidays campaign to help fight food insecurity in Central Florida.
In partnership with its customers, Panera will raise more than $200,000, which will directly help Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida distribute much-needed food to pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, senior programs and low-income daycares during this holiday season.
During the campaign, Panera customers and associates throughout Volusia, Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie, Flagler, and Lake counties were invited to make donations during their checkout. These generous contributions will be matched dollar for dollar by Panera.
To add further incentive, Gavin and Annette Ford -- Central Florida's Panera Bread franchise owners -- will launch a second phase of the campaign to ensure a strong finish.
Through Monday, Dec. 31, Panera will award each donor of $5 or more with a free scratch gift card -- guaranteed to be valued between $5 and $200. The gift cards can be redeemed during future visits to the restaurant.
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, more than 50 million Americans could not afford to buy food at one time or another.
"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.