Panera Bread® Fights Food Insecurity, Partners With Foodbank Of Santa Barbara County

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Panera Bread participates in Foodbank’s Grow Your Own Way Program

Panera Bread has partnered with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County by participating in the Foodbank’s Grow Your Own Way (GYOW) program. The partnership will be launched with a ceremonial seed-planting event at the Isla Vista elementary school on April 19.

“We’re excited about deepening our involvement with the Santa Barbara community through this important partnership,” said Ingrid Roberts, Managing Director and Principal of First Picks Management, a Panera Bread Area Developer and franchisee. “The Foodbank of Santa Barbara has such an important mission of providing fresh and nutritious food to those who need it, and we are proud to support this cause.”

The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County’s Grow Your Own Way program empowers families to grow food at home and community garden settings, encouraging people to make healthy food choices and giving them access to fresh and nutritious food. Panera Bread will be donating used coffee grounds to the Foodbank from April 20 until May 31 for the Foodbank’s local gardens. Panera Bread will also be donating funds to the GYOW program, as well as to the Isla Vista elementary school to support their community garden.

“We’re so grateful for this community gesture from Panera Bread,” said Oscar Carmona of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “Their financial support as well as the coffee grounds they will be donating will help us encourage and inspire even more people to grow food at home, which will help augment the amount of food the Foodbank distributes annually.”

“It’s so important for our kids to learn about the importance of fresh and nutritious food early on,” said Mary Kahn, principal of Isla Vista elementary school. “We’re glad to participate in this program, and so grateful for the support from Panera Bread, which will help keep our garden open so that even more kids can learn about growing healthy food.”

The partnership is also a way to celebrate Panera’s growing presence in Santa Barbara.

They will be opening their second bakery café at 700 State Street, Santa Barbara, Calif. later this month. The new bakery-café will be open from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Sundays. The bakery cafe is owned by First Picks Management, an area developer and franchisee for Panera Bread in Southern California and on the Central Coast of California. The First Picks Management team consists of Keyshawn Johnson, NFL Super Bowl champion and ESPN analyst; Glenn and Clarence Mah, business executives and award-winning foodservice and hospitality experts and Ingrid Roberts, a business development and marketing expert.

About Panera Bread
Panera Bread Company owns and franchises 1,625 bakery-cafes as of September 25, 2012, under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® and Paradise Bakery & Café® names. We feature high quality, reasonably priced food in a warm, inviting and comfortable environment. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by antibiotic-free chicken, whole grain bread, and select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans-fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor and free Internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on our website, http://www.panerabread.com.

About Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
The Foodbank is celebrating 30 years of eliminating hunger and food insecurity by distributing nutritious food, education, and other resources through its own programs and to a network of over 300 member non-profit agencies and programs in Santa Barbara County. Last year, the Foodbank distributed 11 million pounds of food - translating into more than 8.5 million meals - of which fully half was fresh produce. This served over 102,000 unduplicated people from Carpinteria to Santa Maria, an amazing 1 in 4 people. For the fifth consecutive time, the Foodbank has recently been given a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest and most utilized independent evaluator of charities. Only 4% of the charities rated have received at least 5 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Foodbank of Santa Barbara County outperforms most other charities in America. More information at http://www.foodbanksbc.org

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Tala Esguerra
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