Panera Bread donates food that "helps heal the soul" to East Tenn. officer

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- When a Panera Bread manager heard a Knoxville police officer was buying food for a brother in blue and his family, he told her to put the money away.

"Panera has always encouraged us to take care of people who take care of people," said Chris Beecham, Panera Bread manager.

It's a recipe for kindness for Sergeant Scott Winstead, the Jefferson City police officer involved in a fiery car crash Friday.

"I felt like as Panera, we should help them out by giving them the food--to donate the food as a show of respect," said Beecham. "We want to make people happy, " he added.

Beecham said he wanted Sergeant Winstead and his family to break bread together as he recovers from surgery at UT Medical Center.

"Food helps heal the soul," said Beecham."We're coming into the season where giving is actually thought of, and it should be done year around," he added.

If something as simple as bagels, muffins and coffee briefly numbed Sgt. Winstead's pain, Beecham said his heart is full.

"Everybody should always think of a way to make everybody's life a little better, and if everybody did that, it would be a better world," said Beecham.