Back in 2014, I had an unexpected injury to my knee which caused me to get 20 stitches–12 external and 8 internal. I was unable to bend my knee at all, I was on a lot of pain medication, and I was unable to walk without crutches for weeks. I had just gotten back from taking a vacation, which I had used all of my paid time off for. When I went to bring my doctor’s note to my GM, I broke down. Through my head I kept saying, “How am I supposed to pay rent? How am I supposed to pay for groceries? For gas? For all of my bills?” He suggested I apply for the HERO Fund.

I had done countless orientations where I described how great the HERO Fund was to new associates, but never thought about it myself, because when I read the stories I always thought, “Nothing like that will ever happen to me.” Well, this time, it did– and it can happen to anyone unfortunately. I filled out my application along with my story, and I received a check within the week that went towards my rent and groceries.

I am so thankful for the HERO Fund and how it helped me in my time of need. During orientations now, I always stress about how important the HERO Fund is for everyone and I also share a little of my personal story. Sincerely,

Thanks so much again.

Kari Shoufer, Training Specialist

Panera, Aurora Kirk