BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — April is World Autism Awareness Month, and Covelli Enterprises — the largest franchisee of Panera Bread — is partnering with Potential Development School for Autism to launch its “Raising Dough for Autism” campaign.
The fundraiser kicks off Monday and will run through Sunday, April 23. Covelli Enterprises has been holding autism campaigns for the last 13 years. They have partnered with Potential Development for several of those years.
For those who aren’t aware, Potential Development is not just a school but a place where students living with autism can gain support and one-on-one attention to help them reach their goals in life.
Take a look at the video above showing footage from years past where they used puzzle piece cookies to raise money for the school.
This is the first year they’ve transitioned into using Panera’s new toasted baguette sandwiches that just launched in January.
Three dollars from each toasted baguette sandwich benefits Potential Development School for Autism. There are seven Panera Bread locations participating in the Mahoning Valley. They include Austintown, Canfield, Hermitage, Niles, Elm Road and both Boardman Panera’s on South Avenue and Market Street.
The money raised this year will go toward expanding the school and opening more classrooms,
along with purchasing sensory equipment to help students be successful.
“This campaign is so important to us because it helps us fill our classrooms with the necessities and sensory items that are needed. And all of the technology that is needed in our classrooms. We are expanding. Right now we have 244 students and that number keeps climbing,” said Jodi Harmon, director of marketing and special events at Potential Development.
Covelli Enterprises is also raising funds through the rest of April for potential development at registers at all of those seven Panera Bread locations. It’s part of their Operation Dough-Nation campaign and serves as another way to support the school’s mission and families.
This year, Potential Development is also celebrating its 70th anniversary, a milestone they’re very proud of.