Panera Raises $35K for UVA Pediatric Food Allergy Research

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One of the University of Virginia’s research programs is much better off Monday after receiving $35,000 from Panera Bread. The 22 restaurants in the Blue Ridge Panera franchise spent the month of June fundraising for pediatric food allergy research.

The check for $35,000 will help UVA’s Pediatric Food Allergy Research Program treat children with severe food allergies.

"With the fundraiser we had a huge, huge buy-in from our guests, because they see the need with their family, their friends, and neighbors,” said Allie Munsey, Panera Bread marketing manager.

Munsey says customers need safe and worry-free dining at restaurants.

"Ultimately it's what we have to deal with every single day, we have guests that come in worried about not being able to dine safely and our guests really bought into the whole thing,” said Munsey.

UVA associate professor of medicine Scott Commins' research includes a therapy for children with peanut allergies. By giving them small doses, they're able to lessen the likelihood of a life-threatening reaction.

"We feel that the kids, while not cured, are in safer place than they would have been without the therapy,” said Commins.

With this donation, he hopes to change his therapy to a new kind of allergy drops, which would lessen the amount of time children have to spend at the UVA Medical Center each visit.

Panera raised the $35,000 in just two weeks, with a kid's kickoff event, selling friendship bracelets, and proceeds from lemonade and grilled cheese at the restaurants.

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