Panera Bread Hosts Fundraiser for Food Allergy Research

June 7, 2014

There were plenty of colorful homemade bracelets and tree houses for sale during the first annual Kids Craft for a Cause.

Panera Bread held a fundraiser in Charlottesville to raise money for UVa’s Pediatric Food Allergy Research with the help of a few kids in the community.

“We have kids out here that crafted homemade crafts and brought them out here to sell for friends with food allergies,” says Allie Munsey, marketing manager for Panera Bread.

They are also changing the way they handle food in their stores.

“We have new allergen kits in our stores so that every order that presents with a food allergy, they are going to handle that in a completely different manner and much more safely,” says Munsey.

Doctors can detect food allergies at an early age, but as of right now there is no cure and still no real cause.

Scott Commins is a professor with UVa’s Department of Medicine and Pediatrics and says that they are changing the way they treat food allergy reactions.

“What we're hoping to do is transition from a high-dose oral immunotherapy to drops that can actually go under the tongue with hopes that we can start this in children who are younger,” says Commins. “About one child in every classroom has a food allergy of some sort.”

Commins says that one child per every classroom has a food allergy. With the help of restaurants like Panera Bread, they are able to spread awareness about food allergies and raise money for research.

“Patients and families feel so much more secure going into places that are thoughtful about the ways they prepare their foods and handle the different allergens,” says Commins. “In some cases they are able to be allergen free; it just depends on each different restaurant and location.”

Panera Bread is holding a fundraiser in their stores for the next two weeks and hopes to raise $25,000 for research efforts.

The most common food allergies are to cow's milk, eggs, and peanuts.


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