I'm sure at one time or another you've wondered what happens with the 'leftover' food at your favorite bakery, cafe or food establishment the end of the day.  Obviously some food items have a longer shelf-life and can be stored and used in the future, while others are a bit more time sensitive when it comes to usage.  Having worked at a local bagel shop for many years during high school and college I learned about different donations and give-back partnerships with local groups and organizations.  Well now one local location of a popular national franchise is seeking non-profit partners to receive regular donations.

Panera Poughkeepsie Gives Back

A recent post in a community Facebook page prompted me to reach out to management at the Panera Bread on South Road in Poughkeepsie about day-end-dough-nation program.  In speaking with Sarah Erts, General Manager of the Poughkeepsie South Road Panera location, I learned that any non-profit can put in an application with the cafe, providing general information about their purpose, as well as details as to where the donations would be going.

The applications are reviewed and approved by our HR department and upper management, and then the cafe will reach out to the organization to set up a day that works for both of them. Ideally, each day would be a different organization, and they could come pick up the breads and pastries from the cafe in the morning on the same day every week!

Currently, the South Road Poughkeepsie location has a partnership with three non-profit groups, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, but they're looking to find groups to receive the donations for the other days.
Mariana Kurnyk for Canva
Mariana Kurnyk for Canva
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Panera Day-End-Dough-Nation

This program is not unique to Poughkeepsie, as the other Panera locations in the are all participants as well.  The 'Dough-Nation' Program is great to avoid throwing out product, as all breads and baked goods that are unsold, and leftover at the end of the night at each cafe location are boxed up and available for donation to various non-profits like churches, soup kitchens, food pantries and so on.
Should anyone want to apply, please have them reach out to the cafe at this email, or they can call the store and ask to speak to one of the managers so we can send them the application!
According to an article in bakemag.com in December 2021, worldwide, Panera serves over 3,500 local non-profits each night through the program.  For 2021 this added up to nearly $100 million in donations of the unsold bakery items through the program.
Yulia Buchatskaya for Canva
Yulia Buchatskaya for Canva
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How Can Non-Profits Apply

If you are affiliated with, or know of a local non-profit that could benefit from Panera's end of day unused production donations, there's a few ways to get in touch and apply.  You can email cafe4351@panerabread.com, or call the store at 845-297-3549 and ask to speak to a manager.

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