IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day with free short stack

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - If the thought of buttered pancakes doused with syrup makes your mouth water, IHOP is ready to serve.

The restaurant chain is offering a free short stack of pancakes to its customers Tuesday at its locations through 10:00 p.m. In return, it's asking its customers do make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network or the MUSC Children's Hospital.

Summerville IHOP General Manager Veronica Graham told Live 5 News Tuesday morning that over the last year, the whole franchise raised $3 million for the charities. Miss North Charleston Sophie Labelle was also on hand to greet customers.

"All the proceeds go directly to children in need, these kids are kids who are sick with anything from asthma to serious cancers, so this is definitely something worthwhile," Labelle said.

This is the ninth year of the promotion. Since 2006, the annual event raised more than $13 million for charities and has given away more than 22 million pancakes.

But Pancake Day is a much older tradition that dates back several centuries, according to a release from Children's Miracle Network. When the English prepared for fasting during Lent, strict rules at the time prohibited eating dairy products during the 40 day period leading up to Easter. Pancakes became a convenient way to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products.

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, which is also the beginning of Lent.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. All rights reserved.