Lima Panera Bread Café’s Raise Funds for St. Rita’s Women’s Wellness Center

(LIMA; February 3, 2017) Breast Cancer Awareness month may be October, but the fight against breast cancer happens every month of the year. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m. Covelli Enterprises, the Ohio-based franchisee of Panera Bread will present a $2,500 check to St. Rita’s Women Wellness Center to help in this continuous fight. The check presentation will take place at the Panera Bread located at 1830 Harding Highway Lima, OH 45804.

Panera Bread representatives, St. Rita’s Women’s Wellness Center, St. Rita’s Health Care Foundation, members of the Lima Chamber of Commerce and breast cancer survivor will be in attendance.

Every October Panera Bread bakes its signature Pink Ribbon Bagels for Breast Cancer Awareness month. A portion of the proceeds from all Pink Ribbon Bagel sales in Lima were donated to St. Rita’s Health Care Foundation’s Sherry Halker Pink Warrior Fund. Since 2011 Panera Bread has donated nearly $11,500 to St. Rita’s Women’s Wellness Center. The company also collects funds for the center at the registers of its Lima locations as part of its Operation Dough-Nation program.

“We are very thankful for the relationship we have built with our local Panera Bread locations,” said Mary Kay Verhoff, Director of St. Rita’s Women’s Wellness Center. “Through their generosity and support, they are helping uninsured or under-served women who need financial assistance in our community with the funds they need for mammograms, breast ultrasounds and biopsies.”

The partnership began a few years ago when Verhoff received a call from Panera. They wanted to help a local cause. The first year Panera raised funds for St. Rita’s Little Miracle Fund which helps patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. After that, the Sherry Halker Pink Warrior Fund was established and funds were then donated to this cause.

“It is an honor for us to partner with St. Rita’s Women’s Wellness Center,” said Jessica Vogel of Panera Bread. “By supporting local organizations like the Sherry Halker Pink Warrior Fund, we can truly make an impact on the lives of those fighting breast cancer in our local community.”

The Sherry Halker Pink Warrior Fund was established to honor a St. Rita’s co-worker who was a dedicated, compassionate oncology nurse and breast care manager at St. Rita's Medical Center. The fund assists women who are uninsured or under-served and need financial assistance with mammograms and breast ultrasounds.

St. Rita’s and Panera Bread look forward to continuing this relationship and helping both men and women in this continual fight.