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Free pancakes! IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day

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Pass the syrup – IHOP is offering free pancakes Tuesday to benefit charity.

The restaurant is giving away short stacks of buttermilk pancakes to celebrate National Pancake Day, a holiday the company created in 2006.

In return, IHOP is asking customers to make an optional donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, according to the company's website.

Donations from Minneapolis-area IHOPs will be sent to Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, according to City Pages.

Since the holiday began, IHOP has raised $13 million for charity, according to Time magazine. Last year, IHOP served up 4.5 million free pancakes and donated almost $3 million to charity. This year, the company hopes to do the same.

National Pancake Day happens to fall on Shrove Tuesday – also known as Pancake Tuesday – which marks the day before Lent in various Christian denominations, according to City Pages. Traditionally, Lent prohibited the consumption of all dairy products – what's the best way to use up leftover milk and eggs? By making pancakes, of course! Hence the name, Pancake Tuesday.

IHOP's promotion goes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday. It is available for dine-in customers only and they are limited to one free short stack. IHOP has 1,500 locations, including 11 in the Twin Cities.

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