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Local Panera Drive Brightens Holiday

Gift drive benefits Place of Grace in Hartford.

A Holiday Gift Drive at Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Bristol, Canton, Farmington, Newington and Wethersfield have made the holidays brighter for families at Place of Grace located at 55 New Park Ave. in Hartford as more than 150 presents were collected from Panera customers and employees. 

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 is 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.

Grace Episcopal Church’s Place of Grace runs a food pantry which provides groceries for approximately 200 needy families on a weekly basis and a clothing swap where donated clothes are provided to local families.  Toys for Christmas are also collected for the Place of Grace’s pantry clients.  Families register separately for this service and every effort is made to give the children presents that they need and want.  Each year, between 225 and 250 children are given gifts.

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.

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