IHOP restaurants will once again invite guests to enjoy free pancakes while supporting a cause as part of the company's philanthropic National Pancake Day Feb. 28.

Setting its most ambitious fundraising objective yet at $2.7 million, the family-friendly restaurant chain hopes that this seventh year will be lucky for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities.

"Although every day can be made an IHOP day, there is only one National Pancake Day, so we look forward to seeing our regulars and new guests on Feb. 28," said Jean Birch, IHOP's president. "The generosity of our guests, franchisees and team members is evidence of what makes IHOP special, and what has allowed us to surpass our ambitious fundraising targets each year. Our goal is to make this seventh year the most successful to date, and bring the cumulative total raised for charities to more than $10 million."

On National Pancake Day, more than 1,500 IHOP restaurants throughout the United States will serve each guest a free short stack of IHOP's signature buttermilk pancakes all day long, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. In return, guests are encouraged to make a voluntary donation to support the local Children's Miracle Network Hospital or another local charity. Guest donations have helped Children's Miracle Network Hospitals purchase equipment and fund a variety of life-saving procedures and treatments for seriously ill or injured children.

Participating IHOP restaurants will also raise funds for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals during February through the sale of "Miracle Balloons" for $1 and $5 each. Personalized and displayed in the restaurants, Miracle Balloons offer guests an additional way to show their support of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and contribute to the IHOP National Pancake Day fundraising effort. Guests who purchase a $5 Miracle Balloon will receive a coupon good for $5 off their next visit with a $20 purchase.

Since the first celebration of National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP, its guests, franchisees and team members have raised nearly $8 million. In 2011, IHOP served more than 4 million free pancakes and raised more than $2.5 million in support of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities.

For information about IHOP's National Pancake Day, or to learn more about Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and make an online donation, visit www.ihoppancakeday.com.

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