IHOP restaurants are celebrating the tenth anniversary of National Pancake Day on March 3, once again offering one free short stack of their buttermilk pancakes in hopes guests will pay it forward by making a voluntary donation to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Shriners Hospital for Children, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or other local charities.

Participating IHOP Restaurants, including those in New Mexico, plan to give away millions of free pancakes between 7 a.m. -10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3. All of the donations raised stay within the communities, helping provide lifesaving treatment and equipment for local sick and injured children.

Beginning this month, the restaurants will also sell “Miracle Balloons” for $1 and $5 to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. All proceeds will go to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including UNM Children's Hospital. Guests who purchase a $5 Miracle Balloon will receive a $5 discount coupon that can be used during their next dining visit. Similar icons are for sale in those restaurants supporting the Shriners Hospitals for Children and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Pancake Day is a tradition that dates back several centuries to when the English prepared for fasting during Lent.  Strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products, hence the name Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday.