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Panera Bread Cafes in Rhode Island To Hold Free Coffee Kickoff Event To Support Children's Friend's Upcoming 5K Walk & Run

WAKEFIELD, RI — The eight Panera Bread bakery-cafes in Rhode Island (Cranston, East Greenwich, Lincoln, Newport, Providence, Smithfield, Wakefield and Warwick) announce that they will hold a Coffee Kickoff Event Tuesday, April 1st starting at 6:00 a.m. to support Children’s Friend and help kick-off the organization’s 12th Annual 5K Walk & Run Sponsored by Panera Bread fundraiser which will take place on Saturday, April 26th, 2014.  In exchange for a $10 donation, the first 100 customers in line at each Rhode Island bakery-cafe will receive a Panera travel coffee mug and free coffee refills through the day of the Walk & Run (limit one mug per person, per donation; free coffee refills valid only at the Panera cafes in Rhode Island, $54 value, refills not available through the drive thru).  Children’s Friend is Rhode Island's oldest child welfare organization and a leading provider of child and family support, mental health and child development services.

“No joke, our greatest coffee deal kicks-off on April Fool’s Day,” said Wendy Kopp, Director of Marketing for Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group.  “The 5K Walk & Run is the major annual fundraiser for Children’s Friend and, as the sponsor of the event, we wanted to start with a bang offering free coffee refills to our customers who donate to the cause.”  Kopp added that customers who are not able to stop by their local Panera on April 1st can still support the Walk & Run and receive a wristband by making a donation of one dollar or more at the counter of any Panera Bread in Rhode Island from April 2nd – April 26th.

The Children’s Friend 5K Walk & Run Presented by Panera Bread, which will take place at the Roger Williams Park Boathouse, 1000 Elmwood Ave. in Providence, Rhode Island at 10:30 a.m., will feature fun activities for the kids, live entertainment and FREE breakfast and lunch from Panera Bread Catering.  For more details on how to participate and ways to become involved in the Children’s Friend Walk & Run, please visitwww.childrensfriendri.org or find us on Facebook atfacebook.com/childrensfriendri.

In addition to their support of Children’s Friend, Panera Bread cafes in Rhode Island provide leftover bread, bagels and pastries to organizations in need as part of its Day End Dough-Nation program.  This program is carried out every day in every Panera Bread location across the country.  All 28 bakery-cafes owned and operated by top Panera franchisee, the Howley Bread Group based in Cumberland, Rhode Island, participate in the Day-End Dough-Nation Program.  Collectively, the Panera Bread bakery-cafes across the country donated approximately $100 million worth of retail bread and baked goods in 2012 making the per cafe average annual bread donation approximately $146,000.

Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group also enjoys a partnership with Feeding America® where all donations collected through its cafes’ ongoing Panera Cares Community Breadbox™ Program will go directly to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, a Feeding America member food bank.  This Program gives customers the opportunity to donate money at the register to support the local member food banks’ efforts to provide nutritious food to residents in need.

Children's Friend, a non-profit organization founded in 1834, is Rhode Island's oldest child welfare organization.  With centers in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, Children’s Friend served more than 32,000 of Rhode Island's most vulnerable children and their families in 2012.  The agency's programs range from Adoption, Foster Care, Birth Parent Counseling, Child Care and Adoption Support and Preservation, to Dads Making A Difference, WIC, Head Start, Early Head Start, Early Intervention, Family Counseling and Project Connect.

All Panera Bread locations are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offer a variety of menu items -- including breads and bagels, breakfast sandwiches, creative lunch and dinner sandwiches, pastas, hand-tossed salads, homemade soups and a variety of espresso beverages.  Panera Bread Catering also caters and delivers its full menu for any occasion at the office or home.  For a Panera Catering menu and more, please visit a cafe orwww.paneracatering.com.

Howley Bread Group, LTD based in Cumberland, Rhode Island, a franchise of Panera Bread, owns and operates a total of 28 bakery-cafes in Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and Greater Hartford/Eastern Connecticut markets.  For more information, please contact wendy.kopp@panerabread.com or visit the company’s web site at www.panerabreadhbg.com.  Also, like HBG on Facebook at /howleybreadgroup and follow the company on Twitter @panerabreadhbg to hear about upcoming new and returning menu items, community involvement and events, employment opportunities, their Panera culture and much more!

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