June 02, 2011 // Franchising.com // Trevose, Pa. — Rita's Italian Ice, the nation's largest Italian Ice concept, today announced the start of its sixth annual partnership with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) to raise funds to further pediatric cancer research through in-store paper lemon sales and a new Text-to-Donate option.
]From June 1 through June 30, more than 550 Rita's locations will encourage Guests to donate $1 for a paper lemon to raise money for the charity. All Guests have the option to personalize their paper lemons, which are then displayed in the local store's "Wall of Hope," a visual tribute to the community's support of the fundraiser.
New for 2011, Rita's introduces a Text-to-Donate capability for this year's ALSF fundraiser. This allows Guests to donate to the initiative by simply sending a text message via mobile phone. Throughout June, Guests can simply text "ALEX" to 85944 for a one-time donation of $5.
Last year's paper lemon donations generated $575,000 – the largest amount Rita's has raised since the partnership kicked off. Over the past five years, Rita's has collectively raised more than $2.5 million for pediatric cancer research, becoming the leading corporate fundraiser for ALSF.
"Rita's Franchise Partners and Treat Team members inspire our Guests year after year through this program, and together, they demonstrate their deep care for children battling cancer," said Jim Rudolph, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Rita's Italian Ice. "I couldn't be more proud of the continued commitment that the Rita's family has shown in support of the ALSF mission."
"We are continuously amazed by the ongoing support Rita's Franchise Company has provided to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation in the battle against childhood cancer," said Jay Scott, Alex's father and Executive Director of ALSF. "By enlisting the support of their Guests, Rita's helps to continue our daughter's legacy and allows us to take strides toward finding a cure for all children with cancer."
This month-long fundraiser is especially significant to each individual Franchise Partner, as they engage their local communities to support the cause. In the past, this has included special activities such as guest Ice scoopers and head shavings with pediatric cancer patients and prominent community leaders. The ALSF program provides an opportunity for Franchise Partners to not only contribute to the fight against pediatric cancer, but to work together with their neighbors for the benefit of the cause.
In 2006, Rita's officially became a corporate partner of ALSF and implemented its unique paper lemon promotion to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research. In honor of the Foundation's namesake, the late Alexandra "Alex" Scott, Rita's renamed its Lemon Ice flavor—"Alex's Lemonade." Lemon, one of Rita's two original flavor offerings when the company was established in 1984, is one of the company's five most popular flavors.
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation [http://www.alexslemonade.org/lemonade_stand.php] (ALSF) emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott (1996-2004). At the age of 4, Alex announced that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of volunteers across the country carrying on her legacy of hope. To date, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity, has raised more than $40 million towards fulfilling Alex's dream of finding a cure, funding over 200 research projects nationally. For more information, please visit www.AlexsLemonade.org [http://www.AlexsLemonade.org] .
Rita's Franchise Company, headquartered in Trevose, Pa., is the largest Italian Ice concept in the nation, currently operating in 18 states with more than 550 stores. Rita's brand promise is Ice, Custard and Happiness™. The chain offers a variety of frozen treats including its famous Italian Ice, Old Fashioned Frozen Custard, and layered Gelati, healthy Light Line® treat options as well as its signature Misto® and Blendini® creations. Rita's was named one of the Top 25 Franchise High Performers by the Wall Street Journal's 'Startup Journal.' In a 2009 Zagat survey of over 6,000 fast-food fans, Rita's was ranked #2 in the Top Ice Cream/Custard category. For more information about Rita's, please call 1-800-677-RITA or visit www.ritasice.com.