Autism Awareness: Sweet treat for charity

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CLEVELAND – Cookies can be a sweet treat – and also a piece of hope. Panera Bread is once again partnering with the Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism for a very special cookie fundraiser.

Children from the center helped kick off the Fifth Annual Pieces of Hope for Autism Campaign with a cookie decorating party Thursday.

Starting this Monday and through Sunday April 17, 100% of all proceeds from the puzzle piece shortbread cookies sold at Panera will be donated to the Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism.

“Over the last four years, we have raised over $225,000 that has been used to fund the behavioral treatment program here at Cleveland Clinic Children's Center for Autism," Panera Bread Spokesperson Stephanie Terrill said.

The money will also go to much needed research.

“We're also using the funding to support research so we can better understand why kids get autism and how we can help them make their lives better," Thomas Frasier, Director of Cleveland Clinic Children’s Center for Autism added.

April is Autism Awareness month.

The cookies are $1.99 each. They will be available at all 45 Panera Bread locations in Northeast Ohio April 11 through April 17.