Panera Bread has announced a partnership with the Children's Hunger Alliance (CHA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide freshly prepared and wholesome meals to children in need in the state of Ohio.

The company 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 the coronavirus 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,” says Niren Chaudhary, chief executive officer of Panera Bread. “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 meals Panera is providing to CHA include a menu of five different clean, wholesome choices from salads to sandwiches and veggie snack boxes, including a new whole grain bread. The meals are balanced per USDA guidance to include dairy, lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They are being offered at an extreme discount to align with current USDA school food prices.

The Panera and CHA meal partnership will kick off in Ohio on Monday, April 6. 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 governments to contact the company at  

“This is our Panera family in action,” Chaudhary says. “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.”