Panera more than a bakery
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 17:02
Every Tuesday night, baked goods from the Panera Bread Company are delivered to the Salvation Army free of charge.
Once Panera closes on Tuesday and Saturday nights, Danny Etelman, shelter monitor of the Salvation Army drives to Panera and delivers left-over breads and pastries of the day to the Salvation Army so that the food will go to good use.
“We use the bread here when we serve meals and give it to the thrift store to bag up and give out to residents and people that need it,” Etelman said.
As well as donating to the Salvation Army, Panera Bread also gives to the First Baptist food pantry and the Helping Neighbors Food Pantry in Jonesboro 2012.
Panera has been donating to the community since they first opened their doors in Jonesboro. For the first six weeks, they donated what money they received from their cash collections box to the ASU’s choir. These collection boxes are jars by the front where change is collected from people, and then donated to the choir’s performance tour fund. They also gave up a portion of their sales for a couple of nights to help gain a bit of extra money for the tour fund.
“Panera Bread donated $1,000 in total to the performance tour fund for the choir,” Director of Choral Activities Dale Miller said. “Some ASU choir members participated at the opening of Panera Bread in Jonesboro by singing the National Anthem during the ribbon cutting ceremony.”
Actually, all Panera Bread Company baker-cafés donate their leftover bread to their local community, said Daniel Thomas, Panera-Jonesboro’s general manager.
“It’s just part of us, going into the community and trying to give back a little bit to help folks out,” Thomas said. “Instead of throwing it out, we donate to get rid of left over product because everything is fresh everyday.”
According to Panera Bread’s website, their community breadbox ensures that all donations collected by Panera are distributed back into the community. Sometimes bakery-cafes will match the donations that Panera raises and distribute it to local non-profit organizations.
People seeking donations for a local event can also submit an online donation request on Panera Bread’s website.
“Contributions generated through the program have provided basic necessities for those in need, and have created special places and opportunities,” according to the company’s website.
As well as distributing their leftover bread, and collected money donations, Panera Bread also participates in community events where they regularly make “in-kind” donations to silent auctions, races and other community fundraising events.
“We are a restaurant just like anybody else, but instead of throwing it out, we try to donate it to someone that can use it,” Thomas said.