CLEVELAND, OH--(Marketwired - April 11, 2016) - In honor of National Autism Awareness month, the 45 Panera Bread bakery-cafés in Northeast Ohio are hosting its fifth annual "Pieces of Hope for Autism" campaign. From Monday, April 11th through Sunday, April 17th 100% of proceeds from each puzzle piece cookie sold will be donated to Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism. Puzzle Piece Shortbread cookies are unique to the area and can be purchased in the Northeast Ohio Panera Bread bakery-cafés or pre-ordered online at www.covelli.com/Autism.
Over the last four years Panera Bread/Covelli Enterprises has donated over $225,000 to Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism through the "Pieces of Hope for Autism" fundraiser. The funds raised benefit the behavioral treatment program as well as research at Cleveland Clinic Children's. The behavioral treatment program provides community outreach and behavioral treatment to high need children with autism that have difficulty accessing services. The program focuses on both parent training and direct child therapy to improve social and communication skills.
The students at Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism receive specialized care specific to their individual needs. This year's fundraiser features 5-year-old student Kaz. Just a few weeks ago, Kaz said hello to a classmate for the first time, a simple social exchange his mom, Katrina, witnessed firsthand; and one that she thought she may never see. As a toddler, Kaz was unable to communicate using words or gestures. Kaz's parents, Rich and Katrina, traveled throughout the nation for two years dedicating their lives to providing the best opportunity for Kaz after learning he was on the spectrum. They moved across the country to Cleveland in 2014 to enroll Kaz in Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism, and credit Kaz's continued development to the intensive, individualized therapy he receives there.
"Our Panera Bread family is thrilled to support Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism during National Autism Awareness Month," said Sam Covelli, Owner/Operator of Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread. "The Covelli team of expert bakers created the specialty cookie as a way to show support for those affected by autism in our communities. That is what we strive to do at Panera Bread, make a positive difference in the community through our products and bakery-cafés."
"We are happy to continue our partnership with Panera Bread again this year to raise awareness for Autism," said Tom Frazier, Ph.D., Director of Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism. "The Panera Bread Pieces of Hope campaign educates the public and brings awareness to our local communities about autism."
Throughout the months of March and April, Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism is also the Operation Dough-Nation partner in the 45 Northeast Ohio area bakery-cafés. All of the money collected in the canisters will be donated to the cause.
About Covelli Enterprises and Panera Bread
Covelli Enterprises is the largest franchisee of Panera Bread, LLC, with more than 275 bakery-cafés in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and Toronto, Canada. In 2015, Covelli Enterprises donated more than $26 million to non-profit organizations. www.covelli.com