Humanitarian, chef and restauranteur José Andrés has teamed up with Panera Bread to help shine a light on fight food insecurity.
The Spanish-born chef, who founded World Central Kitchen, which has helped feed thousands and assisted struggling restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now working with the fast-casual restaurant chain to raise awareness about hunger relief in a special installment of Panera's video series "Food, Interrupted."
"I am grateful to have support from Panera Bread as World Central Kitchen works nationwide to feed those that are hungry," Andrés said in a statement. "One plate at a time, one sandwich at a time, we can improve and change the world."
In the "Hunger, Interrupted" episode, Andrés and Panera's head chef Claes Petersson create a custom sandwich and discuss people's access to fresh ingredients.
"We had an amazing conversation about the importance of access to fresh, quality food and ingredients," Petersson said in a statement. "Panera partners with more than 3,500 local food banks and pantries annually because we believe everyone deserves access to good food. Now more than ever, it’s important to give back and ensure those in need have access to freshly made meals."
For any whole sandwich purchased at Panera through the end of the month, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to World Central Kitchen.
In Washington, D.C, Andrés’ adopted hometown, the area has become the second most food insecure region in the nation following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by United Way of the National Capital Area, and the food insecurity rate is estimated to be at least 16% this year, up from 10.6% pre-COVID.
Panera said it regularly donates ingredients from its supply chain to those in need through partnerships with organizations like Feeding America and the Children’s Hunger Alliance.
Plus, the brand recently adapted its food donation program, Day-End Dough-Nation, to a contactless model to donate bread and baked goods to local community nonprofits.