the chain gang

National Pancake Day Is the Only Food Holiday Worth Caring About

Can’t beat this deal, at least for today. Photo: IHOP/Facebook

Hopefully by this point, you’ve mostly sworn off validating Corporate America’s dumb food holidays. There’s just no reason to support National Kahlúa Day or National Strawberry Day, both of which happen to be… today. National food “holidays” are marketing masquerading as an event, pure and simple. However, by coincidence, today also offers one of the few exceptions to this rule: It’s IHOP’s National Pancake Day, the annual griddle-cake fest that seemingly rotates year to year, but always scores you the same deal: free pancakes, for a good cause.

Until 7 p.m. today, you’re entitled to a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes, though it’s the rare food holiday that doesn’t end with the brand cackling all the way to the bank. That’s because in exchange, you’re asked to donate the cost of your meal — the pancakes would run you around $4 — to one of IHOP’s three charity partners: the Children’s Miracle Network, Shriners Hospitals for Children, or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Last year, the chain gave away 5 million pancakes, with an end goal of raising $5 million for children’s hospitals and health organizations nationwide. Of course that means some customers are taking the deal, so when you go, if you can, maybe add a few more dollars to your tab for a good cause.

Why National Pancake Day Is the Only Worthwhile Food Holiday