Panera partners with USDA, Children's Hunger Alliance to provide meals in Ohio

File photo (Credit: Ken Wolter/

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Panera Bread is teaming up with the Children's Hunger Alliance to deliver meals to Ohio kids during the coronavirus crisis.

It's a model that could also be scaled with other states across the nation with help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Working with local franchise partners, Panera says it is leveraging its supply chain and bakery-cafes to provide ready-to-eat, freshly prepared meals to CHA for children vulnerable to hunger

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"At Panera, we believe that good food should be accessible to all," said Niren Chaudhary, Panera CEO, in a press release. "This belief is central to our culture and our mission. 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 Panera-provided CHA meals include a menu of five different choices from salad to sandwiches and veggie snack boxes. All these meals are balanced per USDA guidance to include dairy, lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These meals are being offered at extreme discount to align with current USDA school food prices.

This program will kick off in Ohio on Monday, April 6th.

Panera did not specify at this time how the deliveries would work, but says it is encouraging in-need non-profits or state governments to contact the company at

For more information on the initiative, click here.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

There are now 34,208 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio; 2,080 people have died from the virus and 6,205 were hospitalized, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Breakdown of Ohio cases by county >>

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

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