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Panera Bread Is Cooking Up Autism Awareness With Cookies

Panera Bread is cooking up some autism awareness out of its Cincinnati-based locations. Starting Monday, 21 Cincinnati-based Panera locations will offer shortbread cookies featuring a blue puzzle piece to raise awareness and funds for autism-related endeavors.

According to, 100 percent of the autism cookie proceeds will be donated to the Kelly O’Leary Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The donations will help expand the center’s early intervention program and provide sensory-friendly training to staff members of local public institutions such as museums, theaters, and other places of recreation.

The awareness effort is part of “Pieces of Hope for Autism,” an advocacy event created by Covelli Enterprises in 2011, the same group which owns over 300 Panera Bread franchises. Over the past five years, Covelli Enterprises says it has donated over $300,000 to the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism through its fundraiser, Fox8 Cleveland reports.

The fundraiser starts Monday, April 3 and ends Sunday, April 9.