An additional 17.1 million people could face hunger in the next six months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Feeding America. To answer the call to help these people, Panera Bread recently launched the #SeeAPlateFillAPlate Challenge to inspire Americans to donate and fill a plate for someone in need. The challenge will raise funds for Together Without Hunger - a campaign in partnership with Feeding America to help provide freshly prepared meals to children and families facing hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Panera is encouraging those who can to join in and give at TogetherWithoutHunger.org, where a $3 donation will help put a freshly prepared meal on the table for a person in need. After donating, people are encouraged to spread the word by taking part in the #SeeAPlateFillAPlate Challenge on Instagram by decorating an empty plate, sharing a selfie with their creation on Instagram and tagging five friends to join the movement.
“We are all facing this unprecedented crisis together, and many are struggling to put food on the table,” says Niren Chaudhary, chief executive officer of Panera. “We have a unique opportunity to come together—to be a catalyst for good through our See a Plate, Fill a Plate movement – together, we can help combat food insecurity in our communities and make good food accessible to all.”
This week, participating Panera bakery-cafés across the country started preparing meals five days a week to be delivered to Feeding America food banks across the country. Panera has committed to deliver up to 500,000 meals, which include sandwiches made with high-quality meats and cheeses on whole grain bread, delivered directly to local communities.
“Families across the country are being impacted by this crisis—we simply can’t ignore what is happening in all of our communities—in some places, the need is growing by up to 50 percent,” says Sara Burnett, vice-president, wellness and food policy for Panera. “At Panera we aim to not only help meet the immediate need for food, but also to raise awareness of the hunger crisis at hand and what people can do to help.”