Panera Bread Presents “Spook-A-Thon” – A Family Fun Fundraising Event On Saturday, October 25 at Dodd Stadium to Support Local Cancer Patients of Backus Hospital

September 16, 2014 – Panera Bread will present the 4th annual SPOOK-A-THON family fundraiser on Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Connecticut, home of the Connecticut Tigers. People of all ages (and their pets) are invited to “Dress Up to Scare Cancer” at this Halloween-themed event, which will feature the FAMILY 4K CORNSTALK WALK and costume contest, as well as a haunted locker room and dugout, “batty” cages, face and pumpkin painting, cookie decorating, pie eating contest, free breakfast by Panera Catering and lunch provided by local vendors for purchase.

School groups, families, clubs and local businesses are invited to form and name their own costumed teams and generate local support on the official fundraising website, www.SpookathonCT.org. Teams that register on the website will be automatically signed up for the FAMILY 4K CORNSTALK WALK. The Walk is a new opportunity this year to encourage dressing up in costumes and walking in honor or support of loved ones battling cancer.

General admission to SPOOK-A-THON for those who do not pre-register online is a $5 donation per person. All proceeds will benefit local families that are served by the Backus Hospital Breast and Cancer Centers through the Connecticut Sports Foundation. Participating sponsors include Aqua Ball, Backus Hospital, Becky’s Farm, City of Norwich Community Development, Connecticut Sports Foundation, Connecticut Tigers, Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm, Farmer’s Cow, Hair Cuttery, Hard Rock Cafe, Karma Water, Metrocast Cable, Mohegan Sun, Norwich Public Utilities, Robin’s Ice Cream, Rolling Tomato, Rotary Community Corporation of Norwich, WCTY Radio Country 97.7FM, and WFSB-TV Channel 3.

All 28 Panera Bread locations in Eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts owned and operated by the Howley Bread Group (HBG) are also inviting café guests to make a donation of $1 or more and receive a SPOOK-A-THON wristband to show their support. These funds will also support local families battling cancer.

“SPOOK-A-THON is a great way to celebrate Halloween and other fall family fun activities, while supporting local residents battling cancer,” said Wendy Kopp, Panera Bread/HBG Director of Marketing. “We are grateful to our customers who donated funds enabling us to present Connecticut Sports Foundation with a $10,000 check over the summer, which will be redirected to local families to help pay mortgage and rent payments, and utility bills,” Kopp added.

“Over the years, our valued partnership with Panera Bread has helped make it possible to help thousands of Connecticut families with daily living expenses, allowing them to focus on recovery,” said Connecticut Sports Foundation Executive Director Jane Ellis. We are extremely grateful to Panera Bread for their continued generosity,” Ellis added.

Founded in 1987, Connecticut Sports Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to financially assist Connecticut cancer patients and their families, as well as to fund cancer research. Patients are referred to CSF via a network of oncology social workers at Connecticut hospitals and cancer centers. Resources are provided with dignity and privacy, helping patients maintain self-respect, while lessening the stress that may inhibit their recovery.

“We’re so grateful to Panera Bread and Connecticut Sports Foundation for inviting us to partner on this event and for all that they do on behalf of local cancer patients,” said Genevieve Schies, Program Manager, Backus Office of Philanthropy and Development. “SPOOK-A-THON is going to be a great way for families to get involved in helping make their community healthier,” Schies continued.

Panera Bread’s mission is to offer high-quality food in an inviting and comfortable environment, while making a difference in the communities it serves. The company carries out its purpose-driven philosophy to “Live Consciously” by participating in charitable events and by donating all unsold bread and baked goods at the end of each day to local hunger-relief agencies and charities through its “Day-End Dough-Nation” program. Over the past 10 years, with their customers’ support, Panera Bread/HBG has donated over $7 million in food and funds to local charities within its communities. Panera Bread/HBG also has a Donations Department where organizations can request food donations for various non-profit fundraisers and events. Please visit www.panerabreadhbg.com and click on “Donations, Partnerships and Charities” to request a donation.

Panera Bread/Howley Bread Group owns and operates a total of 28 bakery-cafes in the Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts and Eastern Connecticut markets. Panera caters and delivers, too; visit www.paneracatering.com for a list of catering cafes.