Panera Cookies Represent Blooms of Hope for Students with Autism

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Traditionally, tulip blooms represent a perfect and deep love, as well as rebirth and charity, according to online florists.

This week, Panera Bread’s shortbread tulip cookies will represent Blooms of Hope for Autism. 

Through a partnership between Potential Development and Covelli Enterprises, the owner of seven participating Panera locations, every shortbread tulip cookie sold this week will benefit local students on the autism spectrum.

“This week only, through April 21, $1 from every one of our beautiful and delicious shortbread cookies is benefitting Potential Development in their amazing mission to help students with autism have the skills they need to reach their full potential, so we are very excited,” said Danielle Covelli, marketing director at Covelli Enterprises.

By the dozen or half dozen, the cookies are available at Panera Bread locations in the Mahoning Valley, and also online and on the Panera app for pickup or delivery.

Tulip shortbread cookies sold at Panera Bread will benefit Potential Development.

Jodi Harmon, director of marketing and special events at Potential Development, said the school will also make some special deliveries, dropping cookies off to corporate sponsors and encouraging them to spread some spring joy by purchasing the brightly decorated cookies for offices, friends and family.

“I love the Blooms of Hope campaign,” Harmon said. “It’s just really perfect for autism awareness and perfect for this time of year in the Valley when everybody is being generous and wanting to get out.”

Working with Potential Development for the past eight years, Covelli points out the importance Covelli Enterprises places on giving back to the community by raising funds that make a local impact.

“Potential Development – we’re so lucky to have them here locally, because the programming and resources they have for students with autism are so hard to come by. I mean, people are moving here from out of state to attend the school,” Covelli said. “It’s just incredible. It says a lot about the work they do, and we’re just humble to be able to give back to their mission each and every April.”

April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance month, and although this is the first year for the tulip cookie event, Covelli Enterprises has donated more than $2.25 million to support various autism organizations, schools and centers in providing services, scholarships, research, treatment, advocacy and resources for families, according to a press release.

“We’re so excited to be in partnership with Covelli Enterprises and Panera for the new Blooms of Hope for Autism campaign,” said Harmon, adding the money raised will benefit students from preschool through high school, including the 14 expected graduates this spring and all 280 students at the school.

“We feel so blessed to have this school for students with autism to help them reach their fullest potential,” Harmon said, adding 100% of the funds raised through Blooms of Hope for Autism stays with Potential Development’s three local schools and the students they serve.

“During Autism Awareness month we want to stress the need for early intervention,” Harmon said. “It is so important for families when they get that diagnosis to give us a call, and we can help them through that process, learning about that diagnosis and getting on track.”

The Panera Bread on South Avenue in Boardman is ready for spring, with tulips outside and tulip cookies inside.

Both Covelli and Harmon are encouraging Panera customers to order the cookies by the dozen or half dozen, share them with others and try items on Panera’s new menu, which includes nine new items and 12 enhanced classics. Conscious of the strain on budgets, Panera also has added new menu items below $10.

Pictured at top: Jodi Harmon, left, director of marketing and special events at Potential Development, and Danielle Covelli, marketing director at Covelli Enterprises.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.