Bread winner Featured

11:02am EDT November 20, 2003
They say bread is the staff of life, and no one understands this more than John Anthony Orlando, vice president of sales and a fifth-generation member of the Orlando Baking Co. family.

Keeping that in mind, he believes there's a logical fit between making bread and helping to feed the hungry. This is so important to the family-owned and operated Orlando that it has formed a relationship with the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, the largest direct emergency food network in Cuyahoga County.

The company has integrated the effort to combat hunger with much of what it does as a business, including adding the Hunger Network's logo and Web address to its product packaging to increase public awareness of the organization.

Orlando also plans to produce an anniversary bread to celebrate its 100th year in Cleveland. This Italian wheat bread is a new product and will appear in special packaging. For every loaf of anniversary bread sold, the company will donate a portion of the proceeds to the construction of the Cleveland Foodbank's new facility and another portion to the Hunger Network.

"The city of Cleveland supports our family, so we want to support the city of Cleveland, and that's one way we can do it," Orlando says.

Orlando chose the Hunger Network as its primary charity but also makes donations to the Cleveland Foodbank and encourages its employees to contribute money to other nonprofit organizations

"If office staff members make a $2 contribution each week to the Hunger Network, they can 'Dress Down for Hunger' and wear business casual attire on Fridays," Orlando says.

But he's quick to add, "We also have automatic payroll deductions that can be made to the charity of their choice, with the Hunger Network, United Cerebral Palsy and March of Dimes among them."

Although the company as a whole is involved in the fight against hunger, Orlando's employees also volunteer their own time at various charities. Orlando believes the most effective way to make a difference is by focusing corporate contributions in one direction.

"Instead of trying to spread ourselves so thin, we give the Hunger Network more financial and volunteer support so we can actually make a difference," he says. How to reach: Orlando Baking Co., (216) 361-1872, www.orlandobaking.com