Monday, September 19, 2011

GIVEAWAY: "Panera Cares" feeds those in need - WIN FREE Panera Bagels for 1 Year - ENDS 9/30 (CLOSED)

Inside the Panera Cares Cafe in Dearborn, MI (Photo Credit : J Harper)
Panera Cares Community Cafe serves new menu items while helping out the Community

On Thursday, September 15th, I had the pleasure of attending a Food Tasting Event at the Panera Cares Community Cafe in Dearborn, MI, which is one of only three cafes in the USA that serves the entire Panera menu, but customers only pay what they can afford.

Panera Cares allows visitors to pay what they can afford for the food - if you have nothing, then you pay nothing.  Those who can afford to pay are given "suggested donation amounts" for menu items. There are no cash registers, only donation bins.  Through the Panera Cares Community Cafes, Panera feeds over 1 million people a year who would otherwise could not afford a meal.  Those who cannot afford to pay can also volunteer to work at the Panera Cares Community Cafe in exchange for their meals.

Panera Cares uses any extra funds that they receive above expenses to further help out the community.  The Panera Cares Community Cafe in Dearborn provides proceeds to United Way of Southeastern Michigan.

Kate Antonacci, Panera Cares Project Manager, explains how the Cafe works to feed those in need
Donations from Panera Cares help fund the “Impact Your Community” initiative in partnership with United Way of Southeastern Michigan. The initiative encourages people to feed their giving spirit by making a difference in their communities through one-day service projects. Panera and United Way host events throughout the year to build healthier, stronger communities. Volunteers may register for upcoming projects by visiting

The following video is of the Panera Cares Project Manager, Kate Antonacci, walking me through the Panera Cares Community Cafe and explaining how the store works....

Click here if video is not shown

Panera has New Yummy Menu Items
After I received a tour ot the Panera Cares Community Cafe, it was time to try out all the new Panera menu items.  The following is a list of the foods that we had the pleasure of tasting:

· Roasted Turkey Artichoke Panini – all-natural roasted turkey, artichoke-parmesan spread, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and fresh baby spinach, all grilled on asiago cheese focaccia.

· Roasted Turkey Harvest Salad – all-natural roasted turkey, a mix of romaine and field greens, fresh d ‘Anjou pears, dried cherries, gorgonzola cheese and toasted pecans all tossed in cherry balsamic vinaigrette.

· Signature All-Natural Steak Chili (a returning favorite) – a hearty blend of slow-cooked tender brisket slices and ground beef with onions, green bell peppers and kidney beans flavored with garlic, ancho peppers and red jalapeƱos in a rich tomato-based broth, topped with a fresh-baked sweet cornbread crumble.

· Low-Fat Cranberry Orange Smoothie – cranberry and orange puree with ginseng, blended with organic, low-fat Stonyfield Farm® vanilla yogurt & ice.

· Pumpkin Spice Latte (returning favorite) – espresso, steamed milk and pumpkin spice syrup topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

· Chocolate Pecan Babka – a rich, sweet egg bread that is marbled with semi-sweet chocolate ganache and toasted pecans.

My favorite foods were the Panini (wonderful taste and very filling) and the Cranberry Orange Smoothie (I had 2nd's and 3rd's)

If you would like to purchase some of the Panera new menu items for yourself while helping out the community, then be sure to visit the Panera Cares Community Cafe, 22208 Michigan Ave , Dearborn , MI 48124 | 313-274-3301

One FREEISMYLIFE reader will win a certificate from Panera for FREE Bagels for a Year.  Present the certificate each month for 12 months for a FREE Bagel Pack (13 Bagels and Two Tubs of Spread).  The certificate has a retail value of over $100 - HOLLA to the FREE!


-  Fill out the information in the form below.

 - One entry per person please.  Duplicate entries will be removed.

 - USA addresses only.

- The contest ends on Friday, September 30, 2011 at 11:59am EST.

 - The winner will be selected by random number generation.

 - Prize will be fulfilled to winner via US Mail.


- You can get 1 extra giveaway entry for following FREEISMYLIFE on Facebook.

- You can get 1 extra giveaway entry for following United Way Detroit on Twitter.

- You can get 1 extra giveaway entry for following FREEISMYLIFE on Twitter.

- You can get 1 extra giveaway entry for tweeting the following message on Twitter "I entered the @freeismylife giveaway to win 1 Year of FREE Bagels from @PaneraBread"


Disclosure: I and my family received complementary food during the Panera tasting event. Panera Bread is supplying the prize for this giveaway. All opinions are my own. has spoken! Out of 547 entries, has picked #426. Congratulations to the winner of the FREE Panera Bagels for 1 Year: Lily from Las Vegas, NV.

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