Panera Bread has existed at the Clark and Diversey intersection for years, but today it becomes a little more special. The Panera company has converted this regular restaurant into a Panera Cares, one of its more benevolent "pay what you want" eateries to help less fortunate to be able to dine there.
This location, only the fourth of its kind in the country, doesn't display prices, but rather suggested donations. People who have the ability to give more can, while those who don't have enough can either pay what they're able or can volunteer to work at the restaurant for an hour in exchange for a food voucher.
Panera Cares is set up to bring attention to the number of people in our communities who are food insecure, which means people don't necessarily know where their next meal is coming from. According to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, more than 9,000 people in Lakeview alone are food insecure.
"The vision for the Panera Cares cafe is to use Panera’s unique restaurant skills to address real societal needs and make a direct impact in communities,” said Panera bread co-CEO, executive chairman and founder Ron Shaich in a press release. “The [Panera Bread] Foundation developed these community cafes to make a difference by helping to address the food insecurity issues that affect millions of Americans.”
[Photo: CBS Local]