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Panera Bread brings back 'Pieces of Hope' cookies to benefit Autism Speaks of Central Ohio

The puzzle piece cookie, made from Panera Bread's shortbread with a sweet white icing, was designed to represent the symbol for autism. 100% of proceeds benefit Autism Speaks of Central Ohio. (WSYX/WTTE)

Panera Bread has partnered with Autism Speaks of Central Ohio to bring back the annual "Pieces of Hope for Autism" cookies.

Covelli Enterprises, the Ohio-based franchisee of Panera Bread, said 100% of the cookie proceeds benefit the foundation.

The puzzle piece cookie, made from Panera Bread's shortbread with a sweet white icing, was designed to represent the symbol for autism.

"This campaign directly supports research and providers right here in Central Ohio," said Sheri Weithman, Director of Autism Speaks in Central Ohio. "Larger than the financial impact is the amount of awareness this brings to autism in our community. We are so blessed to partner with Covelli for another amazing fundraiser."

Covelli Enterprises owner Sam Covelli said the company is excited for the return of the partnership.

"I love our 'Pieces of Hope for Autism' campaign because I know how much good it is doing in our communities," said Covelli. "This special cookie has allowed us to make such a positive difference for those with autism, and that's something we are extremely proud of."

The benefit runs from April 9 to April 15 at Central Ohio panera locations.

Covelli said last year's campaign resulted in a $37,000 donation to Autism Speaks. Since 2010, Covelli Enterprises has donated over $1.4 million to autism organizations.

The company expects to surpass $1.7 million after this year's campaign.

Cookies can be purchased in store or ordered online here at covelli.com/autism.

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