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October 21, 2021

CONTACT: Melanie Mowry Etters
Communication Director

Breadwinner at Panera Bread Company

By Kimberly Tharpe

Christina Angelis holds a high school degree and had a strong previous employment history when her family moved to Palm Harbor from New York several years ago. Angelis wanted to work so she and her mother sought out supported employment services through the ARC Tampa Bay and APD’s Employment Enhancements Project (EEP).

When Angelis’ employment services began, she was employed by Bealls Department Store in Oldsmar, FL. Her duties there included processing clothing, floor maintenance, and assisting customers. Angelis was temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic and when she finally returned to work her hours were greatly reduced.

Desiring more hours, Angelis began to develop other job opportunities with the assistance of her Employment Specialist. After applying and interviewing for many positions, In February of this year, Angelis was offered a crew member position at Bay Linen Inc. Clearwater. Angelis duties included processing towels and folding hospital gowns for the multimillion-dollar company.

Unfortunately, through no fault of her own, Angelis was laid off once again. Undaunted, Angelis began the job search and interviewing process again. Turning to help from her Employment Coordinator Margaret Cote of the Arc Tampa Bay, they found a great job for Angelis at Panera Bread Company in Clearwater. “Christina is a hard worker and enjoys her duties and loves earning a paycheck,” said Cote.

Angelis said, “I like working at Panera and my co-workers are nice to me and make me feel like part of the team. I like my boss, and I like staying busy.” At Panera, Angelis keeps the lobby and dining room clean. She cleans tables and chairs, checks and cleans the coffee/soda dispenser area, takes out trashes, and cleans the floors in the lobby and dining room. Angelis likes to work and earning a paycheck is very important to her. She enjoys the responsibility that comes with having someplace to be every day. She has worked at Panera for four months now. Angelis’ supervisor says we like having Christina on our team because she is friendly, reliable, and consistently at work. She has a positive attitude and provides good customer service to all. She works well with all of her coworkers and supervisors.

Christina is friendly and has a positive attitude. She is also very reliable and consistent in getting her job duties completed. She is a team player and tries to help out her coworkers any time she can.”

Angelis has a developmental disability. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and APD is highlighting the workplace achievements of people with disabilities and the employers that hire them.

Although Angelis works 11-2 Monday through Friday, she finds time for her favorite hobbies. She loves to watch movies, color, and enjoys painting with Diamond Art kits. Angelis looks forward to traveling to visit family in the near future.

APD supports people with developmental disabilities to live, learn and work in their communities. The agency annually serves more than 55,000 Floridians with autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, Phelan-McDermid syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome. For more information about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, visit or call toll free 1-866-APD-CARES (1-866-273-2273).

At Panera, Angelis keeps the lobby and dining room clean.