Panera Bread Donates $12,000 to FCS

Money Raised through Operation Donation®
to fund FCS’s Child Literacy Programs

Panera Bread Donates $12,000 to FCS

In This Photo: (l to r, last row) Park Avenue Elementary School Principal Joseph Jerabek; FCS Director of Development, Diane Gribbin; FCS Board Chair, Debbie O’Donoghue; Panera Marketing Manager, Theresa Clark; Panera District Manager Patrick Mooney; Reading Buddies Coordinator, Lisa Schlosser; First Grade teacher Ms. Meghan Reistrom and her students.

Freehold, NJ, March 15, 2011 – Students at Park Avenue Elementary School in Freehold were given the gift of reading today, thanks to a special partnership between Family & Children’s Service (FCS), Monmouth County’s oldest non-profit social service agency, and five area Panera Bread cafes. For the second consecutive year, the Panera cafes in Freehold, Shrewsbury, Howell, Middletown and Ocean Township raised more than $12,000 for FCS through the company’s Operation Dough-Nation® program, helping to provide free books, backpacks, school supplies and reading mentors to nearly 4,000 elementary school students throughout the county.

During a visit to the Park Avenue school today, Panera District Manager Patrick Mooney presented FCS Board Chair Debbie O’Donoghue with a check for $12,112, representing the total amount collected through Operation Dough-Nation® in 2011.

“By donating to the Community Breadbox™ containers located near the registers in each of our five bakery-cafes, our customers are funding important causes in their own community,” Mooney explained. “We are proud to support Family & Children’s Service’s mission to provide services and solutions to children in need.”

Money raised through Panera’s Operation Dough-Nation® will be used to support FCS’s Reading Buddies program, a weekly intergenerational shared reading program currently operating in 17 county public elementary schools. The program pairs volunteer readers, many of them members of the agency’s Retired and Senior Volunteers Program, with beginner readers in small group settings. The Panera donation will also be used distribute backpacks filled with much-needed school supplies to students in underserved communities and free books for children to build their home libraries.

To the Park Avenue students scouring through the new books on display in their cafeteria today, the donation represented an opportunity to take home a new book. But for Principal Joseph Jerabek, the contribution meant much more.

“We have always stressed the joy of reading to our students, but Family and Children’s Service’s programs bring an added dimension to our curriculum,” Jarabek explained. “Whether it’s our first graders anticipating a weekly visit from their Buddy readers, or our older students’ expressions of joy when they receive a new book, it is clear that the agency has made a tremendous impact on our school over the years.”

O’Donoghue thanked Panera, and in particular, its customers for helping to make a difference in the local community through their contributions. She encouraged them to continue to support the agency’s mission by donating to the boxes at the Panera cafes in Shrewsbury (1050 Broad Street), Howell (4715 Route 9 North), Freehold (531 Soloman Way-Mount’s Corner), Middletown (776 State Road 35) and Ocean (Ocean Plaza 1100 Route 35) NJ as they continue to raise money for Family & Children’s Service.

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