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National bakery teams up with local food bank to help hungry children

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OKLAHOMA CITY - On Friday, Panera Bread is starting a program to help feed hungry children right here in Oklahoma.

Through Panera Bread's monthly fundraiser, Panera will make a donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma's 'Food for Kids' Backpack program.

Since 2012, Panera Bread has raised more than $30,200 through promotions, which sponsored 151 children in the backpack program.

There is also a way that you can help.

If you purchase a cinnamon crunch bagel, 25 cents will be donated to the program.

Purchasing a Sierra Turkey sandwich will send $2 that way and buying a smoothie will donate $1 to the program.

The fundraiser runs every second Friday.

One in four children struggle with hunger every day in Oklahoma.

The Food for Kids program fights childhood hunger by providing food to chronically hungry children in 53 counties.

The backpack program provides chronically hungry children with backpacks filled with non-perishable, kid-friendly food to eat on weekends and school holidays.

As a result, many teachers reported better school attendance, improved performance, better concentration in the classroom, increased self-esteem and reduced signs of hunger.

Aubrey Iasiello, with Panera Bread, and Angie Gaines, with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, stopped by our studios to talk about the new program.