ST. LOUIS, March 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Panera announced a partnership with the Children's Hunger Alliance (CHA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide freshly prepared and wholesome meals to children in need in the state of Ohio. In partnership with its local franchise partners, Panera is leveraging its supply chain and bakery-cafes to provide ready-to-eat, freshly prepared meals to CHA for children vulnerable to hunger across the state during this time of crisis. Panera is also working with the USDA to scale this model with other states across the nation.
"At Panera, we believe that good food should be accessible to all. This belief is central to our culture and our mission," said Niren Chaudhary, Panera CEO. "Today, more than ever, it is clear to us that access to nutritious food is an undeniable right – especially to those most vulnerable, such as children, during this time of crisis. We are grateful for the opportunity to support our communities."
The Panera-provided CHA meals include a menu of five different clean, wholesome choices from salad to sandwiches and veggie snack boxes including a new whole grain bread. All these meals are balanced per USDA guidance to include dairy, lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These meals are being offered at extreme discount to align with current USDA school food prices.
The Panera and CHA meal partnership will kick off in Ohio on April 6th. As the need continues to grow across the nation, the Panera teams also stand ready to assist other states and communities. Panera is encouraging in-need non-profits or state government to contact the company at [email protected].
"This is our Panera family in action," Chaudhary said. "They are our associates, guests and communities, working together as only they can to help those facing hunger during this challenging time. While always making the health, safety and overall well-being of our family a top priority, Panera will do its best to help the hungry in this time of need."
About Panera Bread Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist.
So, we began with a simple commitment: to bake bread fresh every day in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need.
These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally for wellness to our guests. That means crafting a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches that we are proud to feed our families. Like poultry and pork raised without antibiotics on our salads and sandwiches. A commitment to transparency and options that empower our guests to eat the way they want. Seasonal flavors and whole grains. And a commitment to removing or not using artificial additives (preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors from artificial sources on our No No list) in the food in our bakery-cafes. Why? Because we think that simpler is better and we believe in serving food as it should be. Because when you don't have to compromise to eat well, all that is left is the joy of eating.
We're also focused on improving quality and convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid Pick-Up® for to-go orders and delivery – all designed to make things easier for our guests.
About Children's Hunger Alliance Founded in 1970, Children's Hunger Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Ohio. Through their work, Children's Hunger Alliance provides healthy meals and snacks to food-insecure children, advocates for legislation to improve the welfare of Ohio's youngest citizens and teaches nutrition and physical education to those they serve.