Food, laughter and Easter eggs: The bakery and snack brands bringing relief to those in need

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages/AnnaSivak
Pic: GettyImages/AnnaSivak

Related tags Peatos Nestlé Panera bread coronavirus

PeaTos, Nestlé and Panera are going the extra mile to support people facing hardship and uncertainty to get through the coronavirus outbreak with a welcome meals, some fun for the kiddies and a measure of laughter.

Laughter is the best medicine


PeaTos Snacks is donating a portion of the sales of its snacks during the month of April to Feeding America to continue its school lunch programme to provide critically-needed grub for food insecure kids across the country at this time.

The fast-growing snack brand – known for its irreverent sense of humour and openly taking on a David versus Goliath battle with industry giants like Cheetos and Funyuns – is also making #stayathome more fun with a free-to-view virtual happy hour hosted by Comedy Central’s Amy Miller on April Fool’s Day.

PeaTos has partnered with Dash Radio and Laugh Factory to host Snack on Laughter, a free live streaming digital stand-up comedy showcase taking place today – Wednesday, April 1 at 5pm PT/8pm ET – which can be viewed on Instagram and Facebook.

Miller will be joined by six rising stars of comedy who will undoubtedly drolly lament the life of self-isolation and how they are navigating its pitfalls and opportunities.

The quarantine-approved lineup includes America’s Got Talent semi-finalist Jackie Fabulous; Shane Torres from Comedy Central’s Shane Torres Conquers Fears; Alex Falcone who was voted Portland’s Funniest Person in 2018; The Late Show’s Caitlin Weierhauser and Stephen Colbert; and Los Angeles-based comedian Joe Dungan.

“This is a moment when we need laughter more than anything,”​ said PeaTos CEO Nick Desai.

“Since we pride ourselves on not only serving up great snacks, but also witty banter, we thought this was the best way we could help lift people’s spirits in these unprecedented times.”

The digital event is not only for viewers’ enjoyment, it also kicks off PeaTos charitable efforts with Feeding America. For the month of April, PeaTos will donate a portion of all sales from to Feeding America.

To watch Snack on Laughter, click here.

Nestlé comes to the fore

Nestlé is rising to the call to provide much needed support for people facing hardship and uncertainty, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said the company is working with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and its emergency relief.

The breakfast cereal giant has donated CHF 10 million for immediate deployment in countries where it is most needed, as well as food, medical nutrition products and bottled water, which the IFRC will distribute to those most affected by the pandemic.

The Swiss company will also deploy available logistics capacities from its out-of-home business to support the needs of the IFRC in various countries, and noted it will match any donation made to the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies or Federation by its employees.

“The Red Cross and Nestlé were both established over a century ago. We have common roots in Switzerland and are present in almost every country in the world. We share common values, including a determination to make a difference on the ground,”​ said Schneider.

“Now is the time to demonstrate the values of the Nestlé family. I am deeply impressed and humbled by what our team has accomplished in order to support individuals and communities affected by this crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global problem and consequently we are offering help on the ground everywhere, drawing on our extensive presence and experience in one hundred and eighty-seven countries. In addition, we give our full support to those who are fighting tirelessly against the spread of the virus, every day.”

Nestlé Australia is also donating $2m in products over the next two months to Foodbank Australia, to be distributed through its network of 2,400 charity agencies.

“As we find ourselves in unprecedented times as a result of coronavirus, more Australians than ever are facing a struggle to make day-to-day ends meet,”​ said Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey.

“Nestlé has been a long-standing partner of Foodbank and its ongoing commitment to support Australians is more important and valuable than ever.

“Foodbank has an exceptional support network of donors and supporters that help us provide food relief to more than 815,000 Aussies a month, during normal times. These are no longer normal times and our partners are rising to the call.

“Regular donations like Nestlé’s are helping to bridge the gap, but demand for food is rising at a rate never before seen and we need to do more to keep up, and this donation will make a huge difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable people and communities.”

The company’s Australian arm is also extending its decade-long partnership with Role Models and Leaders Australia, which run the Girls Academy, a school-based engagement programme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls.

Again, the food manufacturer will provide essential food items to 43 at-risk remote Indigenous communities that are facing food scarcity as some are in lockdown.

“An act of kindness can go a long way in these uncertain times, with even the smallest gestures having the potential to make a big difference to both individuals and broader communities,”​ said Nestlé Oceania CEO Sandra Martinez.

“Now, more than ever, is a time for Australians to band together and help one another. Together with Foodbank and the Girls Academy, we are aiming to do what we can to make a positive difference and help those Australians who need it the most during these difficult times.”

Nestlé is also extending its benevolence to Sri Lankan workers at the frontline of battling the virus.

The company is donating Rs. 15 million worth of products to be distributed by the National Operations Center for Prevention of COVID-19 to medical workers, armed forces and other frontline personnel.

“Now, more than ever, is the time to uphold our strong values as a company; to continue making a meaningful contribution and difference to society,”​ said Fabrice Cavallin, Nestlé Sri Lanka’s MD Fabrice Cavallin.

Panera reaches out to help kids

Panera has teamed up with Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA) to get freshly prepared meals to vulnerable children in Ohio.

The US sandwich chain giant is leveraging its network of bakery-cafes to provide five ready-to-eat meals – including sandwiches, veggie snack boxes and salads, balanced per USDA guidance to include dairy, lean protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies – to CHA to distribute across the state.

It is also working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to scale up this model to other states across the US.

“At Panera, we believe that good food should be accessible to all. This belief is central to our culture and our mission,”​ said Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary.

“Today, more than ever, it is clear to us that access to nutritious food is an undeniable right – especially to those most vulnerable, such as children, during this time of crisis. We are grateful for the opportunity to support our communities.”

The Panera and CHA meal partnership will kick off in Ohio on April 6. The company is also  encouraging other in-need non-profits or state government to contact it at

“This is our Panera family in action. They are our associates, guests and communities, working together as only they can to help those facing hunger during this challenging time. While always making the health, safety and overall well-being of our family a top priority, Panera will do its best to help the hungry in this time of need,”​ added Chaudhary.

Panera Bread in Iowa is also determined to make sure that kids don’t miss out on Easter, just because of coronavirus.

Easter Egg hunt kzenon
Pic: GettyImages/kzenon

The company is hosting a visual egg hunt for children between the ages of seven and eight in Iowa and Illinois.

“We know that many communities have had to cancel their annual egg hunts this year, and we decided that we want to provide a fun alternative for families,”​ said Emily Deahr, marketing administrator for Panera Bread of Iowa.

“Cancelling events like egg hunts can be really disappointing to kids, so we decided to help our local communities by holding a safe event that will hopefully spread a bit of joy.”

Nineteen Panera locations in Iowa Illinois will join in the visual egg hunt, decorating café windows with eggs that children can hunt from their family’s vehicle.

Individuals who participate will receive a free cookie during their visit, and children who find all of the eggs can enter an online raffle for a $25 gift card.

The visual egg hunt will take place each day from April 5 to Easter on April 12.

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