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Offering pancakes, IHOP raises money for UI Children’s Hospital

BY KELLIE PETERSEN | FEBRUARY 24, 2010 7:30 AM

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Many enjoy a good morning flapjack, but eating pancakes took on a greater purpose Tuesday.
Local residents began arriving early in the morning to get the griddle cakes at the Coralville branch of International House of Pancakes.

In celebration of National Pancake Day, IHOP hosted its fifth-annual fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. The local hotcake franchise, 2435 James St., accepted donations for the UI Children’s Hospital while providing a free buttermilk short stack in return, bringing in a roughly $800 by late Tuesday night.

“It’s a cool idea,” said University of Iowa sophomore Alex Libin. “I mean everyone loves pancakes.”

UI Hospital and Clinics employees, such as pediatric intensive-care nurse Kristin Pavlovich, attended the flapjack fundraiser for the purpose of helping families with an ill child.

“It helps [the families] with their burden, because it is hard to have a child who is sick,” she said, calling the charity “great.”

Nationwide, the country is split up into regions, each with one Children’s Miracle Network hospital beneficiary.

The local beneficiary, the Children’s Hospital, collects the proceeds from nine IHOP restaurants in Iowa. Last year, it brought in $9,000 from the pancake party.

Coralville IHOP manager Brandon Harkin said he was hoping his store could raise $1,000. The branch brought in $741 last year and $418 raised in 2008.

Across the country the griddle cakes brought in $1.5 million last year and $3.25 million to date, said Jennifer Pendergrass, the manager of communications for IHOP.

In honor of its fifth year, IHOP set a goal of pushing the amount to $5 million, Pendergrass said. To reach that, this year’s national fundraising goal would need to be $1.75 million. National data will be available today.

While IHOP can donate proceeds to another charity it has formed a partnership with, approximately 80 percent of the pancake houses nationwide donate the money to the Children’s Miracle Network.

“That’s one of the great things about working with this brand is seeing how much the employees and franchises care about the communities in which they work,” Pendergrass said.

Shannon Milton, a program assistant for Children’s Miracle Network, said the fundraiser was also a way to raise awareness about the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals nationwide.

“I definitely think we couldn’t be as successful as we are without our corporate sponsors,” Milton said.


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