Special Olympics North Carolina Partners with Panera Bread for Summer Games

May 23, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Sports News
DURHAM, N.C. (May 2007) – Joe and Diane Bastian, co-owners of 13 Panera Bread locations, announce a partnership with Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) as a honorary delegation statewide and event sponsor for the 2007 Summer Games in Raleigh June 1 – 3, 2007. More than 1,300 athletes from across the state will compete in aquatics, athletics, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball and volleyball.

“We are excited about the partnership,” said Keith Fishburne, SONC president/CEO. “Panera’s generous support coupled with other volunteers and donors will make this the most successful Summer Games to date.”

As a part of the partnership, Panera Bread will provide the following: meals for the President’s Dinner prior to Opening Ceremonies, box lunches for athletes and coaches at the aquatics venue on Sunday, June 3 and gift certificates for volunteers. Panera will also host several delegations for dinner on Saturday, June 1. Additionally, a cash donation will be made to SONC.

“I am really proud of the achievements of the athletes. Their commitment to success, fitness and their ability to overcome obstacles reflect the same values as Panera Bread,” says Joe Bastian. “It is an absolute honor for Panera Bread to be associated with such a great organization. We’re thrilled to be showing what we call ‘Panera warmth’ by helping with meals and other activities to make the Summer Games truly memorable for the athletes.”

Each year, law enforcement officers from across the state raise money for SONC through the Law Enforcement Torch Run®. This year, Panera is proud to supply refreshments and support for a couple of the Torch Run relay legs across the state. The Torch Run Final Leg will start at the Raleigh City Council Chambers on Friday, June 1 and end at the 2007 SONC Summer Games Opening Ceremonies for the lighting of the cauldron to officially open the Summer Games. Since the inception of the Torch Run, organized in 1987, the event has raised more than $12 million for SONC.

Panera Bread’s Breadwinners at the Triangle operates 13 locations. The first area location opened in 1999 at Crabtree Valley Mall. For more information or to find the nearest location to your business, visit www.panera.com.

About Panera Bread:
Panera Bread serves fresh baked, handcrafted artisan breads, sweet and savory baked goods, hand-tossed salads, wholesome soups, and signature sandwiches in a distinctly warm and welcoming environment. Panera Bread is committed to using only the highest quality, fresh ingredients in the food we offer, and making a lasting contribution to the neighborhoods in which our customers and employees live and work through programs like Operation Dough-Nation. Headquartered in Richmond Heights, MO, Panera Bread operates 1,101 bakery-cafes (430 company-owned and 671 franchised) as of March 27, 2007. For more information, visit www.panerabread.com.

About SONC:
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics gives them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. The goal is for all persons with intellectual disabilities to have the chance to become useful and productive citizens who are accepted and respected in their communities. For more information, visit http://www.sonc.net or call 919-719-7662

About SONC Summer Games:
Nearly 1,300 athletes from across the state will compete in the 2007 SONC Summer Games on June 1-3. Athletes will compete in six sports including athletics, aquatics, gymnastics, power lifting, softball and volleyball. One thousand volunteers are needed for this event. For more information visit www.sonc.net.

About The North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run®:
The North Carolina Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics unites officers from law enforcement agencies and corrections departments across the state in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics North Carolina. Each summer, law enforcement officials carry the Flame of Hope across the state in The Torch Run Final Leg, culminating in the lighting of the cauldron to officially open the Special Olympics North Carolina Summer Games in Raleigh. The 2,000-mile, 16-day Torch Run Relay involves more than 4,000 law enforcement officers and personnel representing more than 400 law enforcement agencies across North Carolina. For more information contact Dot Kohlbach at 919-719-7662 ext. 119.

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