Mark your calendars!

By Mike Pomranz
January 30, 2019
Getty Images/RooM RF

No matter how black your heart may be, you can at least be convinced to eat free pancakes for charity, right? If so, mark March 12 on your calendar: It’s the annual IHOP Free Pancake Day, and everyone is invited to grab a short stack for free, though hopefully you’ll be convinced to open your wallet to help those in need.

This year’s event, called Flip It Forward for Kids, will take place at participating restaurants nationwide on Tuesday, March 12 from 7 a.m. until at least 7 p.m.—though some locations will choose to keep the promotion running as late as 10 p.m. Each guest will be able to have one free short stack of Original Buttermilk pancakes—but as your parents always told you, nothing in life is free, and in this case, the catch is that you’ll be encouraged to help kids battling illnesses by donating to one of IHOP’s charity partners: Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals), The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Honestly, it’s not such a bad catch.

To reinforce the importance of these charities, IHOP also invited kids being treated at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital to submit their best pancake ideas, eventually narrowing down the submissions to three “junior chef” finalists who got to visit the IHOP test kitchen to show off their creations. A single finalist will be named on February 25.

“Every year we look forward to kicking off our IHOP Free Pancake Day Flip it Forward for Kids campaign because it combines the two things we love most—pancakes and helping our communities,” Stephanie Peterson, IHOP’s Executive Director of Communications, said in the announcement. “Our new event name reflects our desire to do good and support charities like Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. All three of our IHOP Kid Chef finalists—Coleman, Nellie and Brody—inspired us with their incredible stories of courage and wowed us with their creative pancake recipes. We can’t wait to see what they do next as the possibilities are endless, thanks in large part, to the care they received at a CMN Hospital.”

Finally, IHOP also points out that you don’t have to wait until Free Pancake Day to make your donation. Customers can also purchase a wall icon at restaurants in the lead up to March 12: A donation of at least $5 comes with a $5 off coupon.  And diners can choose to give a cash donation on their checks and in restaurants until the end of March too.

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