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4/1/17news article

Panera Bread hosts Pieces of Hope for Autism cookie campaign

100 percent of cookie sales donated to Dayton Children’s

Covelli Enterprises, the Ohio based franchisee of Panera Bread, is proud to announce the return of its Pieces of Hope for Autism featuring special Puzzle Piece Shortbread cookies. The cookies will be on sale Monday, April 3 through Sunday, April 9 in support of National Autism Awareness month. 100 percent of proceeds from each Puzzle Piece cookie sold will be donated to Dayton Children’s Hospital autism diagnostic center.

panera cookie

“We are thrilled to continue our Pieces of Hope for Autism campaign with Dayton Children’s Hospital,” said Sam Covelli, Owner/Operator of Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread. “Not only do our customers say the cookies are delicious, but the campaign allows us to make a direct positive impact on families we serve here in the Miami Valley. Every cookie counts!”

The Covelli team of expert bakers have spent years creating, crafting and perfecting the specialty cookie as a way to show support for those affected by autism in the communities they serve. The journey began in 2010, and since then Covelli Enterprises has donated over 1.2 million dollars to local non-profit autism organizations.

This will be the third Pieces of Hope campaign in the Dayton area since Covelli Enterprises acquired the market in September of 2014. Last year the Dayton stores broke records with more than 17,000 cookies sold.

The donation to Dayton Children’s will be used to help fund programs that will provide timely diagnostic assessment for families who are concerned about their child having autism, as well ongoing education and support to primary care physicians to assist them in the identification and management of children with autism.

“Since starting the autism diagnostic center in 2015, we have dramatically reduced our wait time so hundreds of kids, whose parents or caregivers are worried about autism, get quicker access to critical intervention services,” says Craig Boreman, MD, medical director of the autism diagnostic center.   “Regardless if the child has autism or another developmental disability, those services will make all the difference in their development. Not only does this process help our children, it also reduces family stress and builds a better future for our community.”

The Puzzle Piece Shortbread cookies are unique to the area and will be available in all 13 Dayton, Ohio Panera Bread bakery-cafés or pre-ordered online at

In addition to cookie sales, the company will collect funds for Dayton Children’s Hospital at the donation canisters near the registers of its Dayton Panera Bread locations, as part of its Operation Dough-Nation program throughout the months of April, May and June.

1 in 68 children have been diagnosed with autism, making it one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the country, as reported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More about Covelli Enterprises

Covelli Enterprises is the largest franchisee of Panera Bread, LLC with more than 300 bakery-cafés in six states. In 2016, the company donated more than $28 million to charity through unsold bread products for local hunger relief agencies and monetary donations to other non-profit organizations.

For more information, contact: 
Stacy Porter 
Public relations manager 
Phone: 937-641-3666