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Troops connected to home with Panera

Marketing personnel and managers of the Settlers Ridge Panera accepted a Center of Influence award from 1st Lt. Chris Preffer and the 171st Air Refueling Wing for their sucess with the Phone Cards for Troops program. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault) (Released by 171st Public Affairs)

Marketing personnel and managers of the Settlers Ridge Panera accepted a Center of Influence award from 1st Lt. Chris Preffer and the 171st Air Refueling Wing for their sucess with the Phone Cards for Troops program. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Stacy Gault) (Released by 171st Public Affairs)

PITTSBURGH -- 171st Air Refueling Wing members thank managers and staff of the Settlers Ridge Panera Bread Café with a Center of Influence award for the second annual Phone Cards for Troops program.

On December 9, Panera Bread Pittsburgh cafes are offered a free "You Pick Two" voucher to anyone that donates $5 to the program.

Last year, Panera Bread Phone Cards for Troops program raised more than $8,000 to purchase international phone cards for service members serving abroad. The phone cards are distributed among the local Pittsburgh military installations to include the 171st Air Refueling Wing, 911th Airlift Wing, and 316th Regional Readiness Command.

"With Panera's help last year, the 2009 drive netted more than 245,000 international phone-card minutes," said Bernadette Santucci, Marketing Director Pittsburgh Region Panera Bread Cafés. "The total number of minutes collected over six years is more than 345,000. Panera Bread joined the cause in 2009 and hopes to continue to help in the success of the program."

The Panera Bread Phone Cards for Troops program is made possible through a partnership with Allegheny County. This is the seventh year that Allegheny County has sponsored the phone card drive for troops.