Long Island, NY (November 10, 2011) - During Hunger Awareness Month, Panera Bread teamed up with Island Harvest for a crusade to help feed Long Island's hungry. All 21 Long Island bakery-cafes participated in Panera Bread's Take a Bite out of Hunger campaign, from September 12th through the16th. The five-day program, now in its second year, gained momentum and reaped twice last year's bounty with a healthy two-ton helping, or more than 4,000 pounds, of non-perishable food items collected. The donated food has been allocated by Island Harvest to soup kitchens, food pantries and other emergency feeding programs throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. In return for their generosity, Panera Bread treated each person who made a food donation to a free grilled breakfast sandwich.
"We served up nearly 1,800 free breakfast sandwiches during those five days-and in the process helped a lot of our neighbors who are struggling to feed their families," says Greg George, Vice President of Panera Bread on Long Island. "It's rewarding to see people open their hearts to give and as a company to be able to give something back to them in return."
According to Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest, over 285,000 people, including 110,000 children face the reality of hunger each day right here on Long Island.
An essential sponsor, Panera Bread provides over 1,000 pounds of bread daily from its area bakery-cafes and this year contributed $45,000, comprised of guest donations and food to help support the efforts of Island Harvest, its Operation Dough-nation ® partner.
Panera Bread is also participating in Island Harvest's annual Turkey & Trimmings Collection Campaign, a lifeline for thousands of Long Islanders who struggle to put food on the table during the holidays. To lend a helping hand, Panera Bread is asking its neighbors to drop off frozen turkeys, supermarket turkey coupons and non-perishable food items at any of its 21 Long Island bakery-cafes on or before December 24th.