GLENDALE (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- With pancake parties taking place throughout the country, Children's Miracle Network balloon sales going through the roof at IHOP restaurants nationwide, public service announcements starring NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young airing across the country, and a strong buzz in support of National Pancake Day, one would think that Children's Miracle Network and its fundraising partner IHOP had covered every possible base to get the word out on their annual National Pancake Day fundraising event set for February 23. Not a chance!
Today, both organizations took things a step farther: Children's Miracle Network announced that a number of its celebrity supporters plan to make National Pancake Day wake up calls to remind interested individuals to stop into an IHOP for free flap jacks on February 23, and IHOP announced a "Stacks for Good Acts" online contest offering a year's supply of free pancakes to the winner.
2010 will mark IHOP's fifth year celebrating National Pancake Day and the company has set an ambitious goal to raise $1.75 million this year, or cumulative $5 million for charity in the first five years of its philanthropic effort. On National Pancake Day, February 23, 2010, IHOP will give guests one free short stack of its signature buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at its more than 1,400 restaurants throughout the United States. In return, America's favorite restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner asks that guests make a voluntary donation to support local children's hospitals through Children's Miracle Network and other local charities.
Children's Miracle Network National Pancake Day Celebrity Wake Up Call Program invites interested individuals to receive a wake-up call from their choice of celebrity on February 23, offering a reminder to visit IHOP for free pancakes that day. Celebrity callers include NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young, entertainer and Children's Miracle Network co-founder Marie Osmond and newly crowned Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron. Wake up calls can be ordered at www.IHOPPancakeDay.com.
IHOP's "Stacks For Good Acts" Online Contest invites good Samaritans to submit a 250 words or less story at www.IHOPPancakeDay.com about a good deed they or someone they know did in 2009. Entries will be judged on emotional impact, originality and entertainment value. One grand prize winner will receive free pancakes for one year.
Complete "Stacks for Good Acts" contest rules can be found at www.IHOPPancakeDay.com. Entries can be submitted online and the contest ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 19, 2010. One (1) grand prize winner will receive free pancakes for a year (defined as one free short stack of buttermilk pancakes per day for 365 days) at IHOP.
"National Pancake Day is IHOP's way of giving back to the communities in which we operate," said Carolyn O'Keefe, IHOP's senior vice president, marketing. "We're excited about these unique new ways to get the word out about IHOP's National Pancake Day, and we look forward to hearing from our guests and rewarding one of them for an extraordinary act."
IHOP launched its National Pancake Day fundraising effort in 2006 with the goal to benefit the communities in which it operates. Last year's fundraiser became the largest one-day event in IHOP's 51-year history by giving away three million pancakes and raising more than $1.5 million for local children's hospitals and other worthy causes. To date, IHOP has raised more than $3.25 million dollars in support of local charities and hopes to raise at least $1.75 million in 2010.
For 51 years, the IHOP family restaurant chain has served its world famous pancakes and a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are loved by people of all ages. IHOP offers its guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. The first IHOP opened in Toluca Lake, Calif. in 1958, and as of September 30, 2009, there were 1,433 IHOPs in 50 states, Canada and Mexico. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN).
Children's Miracle Network is an international non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children's hospitals. Countless individuals, 90 organizations and 400 media partners unite with Children's Miracle Network hospitals to help sick and injured kids in local communities. Donations to Children's Miracle Network create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that saves and improves the lives of 17 million children each year.
***NOTE TO EDITORS: For centuries, the English have 'flipped' for pancakes in celebration of Shrove Tuesday, which heralds the beginning of fasting during Lent. Long ago, strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products... hence the name Pancake Tuesday. While IHOP's National Pancake Day typically takes place on Shrove Tuesday, this year the company will host its free pancake event on Tuesday, February 23, extending the fundraising window by one week to maximize donations for Children's Miracle Network.