The money, raised through Panera’s Operation Dough-Nation program, will be used to further the Flutie Foundation’s mission to promote autism awareness and support families affected by autism spectrum disorders.
“We’re grateful to Panera Bread in Natick and our neighbors in the community for their continued support of the Flutie Foundation,” said Lisa Borges, executive director of the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. “By giving locally, community partners like Panera help us improve the quality of life for individuals and families affected by autism throughout New England.”
The Natick bakery-café originally collected $1,600 from customers through the in-store Operation Dough-Nation canisters, which are displayed near the registers in each Panera bakery-cafe. Panera Bread then matched its customer donations dollar for dollar, bringing the total donation to $3,200.
“The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation provides outstanding resources and services for families affected by autism,” said Mitchell Roberts, franchise co-owner of Panera Bread in Natick. “Panera Bread is proud to join the Natick community in support of the Flutie Foundation’s efforts to raise autism awareness and provide relief to families.”
The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc. was established in 1998 by Doug Flutie and his wife, Laurie, in honor of their 19-year-old son, Doug, Jr. who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3.
Autism is a neurological disorder that impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Autism now affects one in 110 in the United States, and the numbers diagnosed continues to dramatically climb.
The Flutie Foundation’s mission is to support families affected by autism spectrum disorder. The Foundation is committed to increasing awareness of the challenges of living with autism and helping families find resources to help address those challenges; providing individuals with autism and their families an opportunity to improve their quality of life by funding educational, therapeutic, recreational and advocacy programs.
For more information on the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism, please visit www.flutiefoundation.org.