Panera Bread stores in the Virginia area of Blue Ridge spent the month of June raising awareness and taking donations for children’s allergy research programs at the University of Virginia.

The chain raised $35,000 and presented that money to the University this past week. The money will help the University’s Pediatric Food Allergy Research Program to treat children with severe food allergies.

The program includes food-allergen desensitization. The money will go toward upgrading to a newer, safer allergy drop, which shortens the therapy time on each visit.

The money was raised at 22 Panera Bread stores in the area, which sold friendship bracelets, lemonade and grilled cheese sandwiches to customers who donated.

“With the fundraiser we had a huge, huge buy-in from our guests, because they see the need with their family, their friends, and neighbors,” said Allie Munsey, Panera Bread marketing manager, to a local news station.

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