Panda Express® Partners with Actor Dakota Fanning for Annua

|Aug 7|magazine12 min read

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Aug. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the establishment of its inaugural Panda Cares Day™ in 2019, Panda Cares®, the philanthropic arm of Panda Express®, commemorates its anniversary on August 8 every year with a celebration of giving back. In honor of the holiday this year, Panda partnered with actor and children's advocate Dakota Fanning, to host a virtual storytime for children across the country at eight Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals and 80 Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) chapters. Dakota surprised the children with a video message filled with words of encouragement, followed by a dedicated reading of "All Are Welcome" by author Alexandra Penfold & illustrator Suzanne Kaufman. For more than 20 years, Panda Cares' vision has been to empower youth to learn, lead and thrive for brighter futures through health and education, creating powerful learning pathways and focused care for the holistic well-being of kids nationwide.

BGCA drive-by parties and CMN Hospital visits took place at 88 locations in which Panda hosted the virtual storytime this week. As part of the celebrations, the organizations received a total of 88,000 books for the children, aimed at developing reading skills, enhancing critical thinking skills and broadening perspectives. In addition, curated through its Panda Cub Club™ enrichment initiative established earlier this year, Panda provided fun at-home activities to encourage learning through play. Both CMN Hospitals and BGCA are longtime partners of Panda Cares and have enabled the foundation to support millions of children and families over the years. 

"As a family business, we believe it is our responsibility to foster the spirit of kindness in our extended Panda family of guests and associates, and it has been an honor to witness everyone coming together to further our mission of inspiring better lives," said Dr. Peggy Cherng, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Panda Express. "Panda Cares Day has a special place in our hearts for many reasons. The number 8 is the luckiest number in the Chinese culture, representing prosperity. The number is thought to bring good fortune in life, which is why we established Panda Cares Day on August 8—to share good fortune with the communities we serve."

Following a commitment of $25 million to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to fund Panda Cares Centers of Hope in 2019, Panda Cares unveils its 8th Center of Hope on Panda Cares Day 2020 at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, which is serendipitously celebrating its 8th anniversary this year. The Panda Cares Center of Hope inspires hope and promotes healing by providing specially curated programs that address each child's entire well-being, including their physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. Therapeutic play, art therapy, and counseling services are just a few examples of a wide range of offerings at Panda Cares Center of Hope designed to give children the courage and strength to thrive. Since last year, Panda and CMN Hospitals have debuted Center of Hope locations across several hospitals in the U.S. including California, Texas, Nevada, Hawaii, Washington D.C., and Arizona.

To extend the festivities to its guests, the American Chinese brand has organized a virtual fundraiser on August 8, to continue to drive donations to support children in underserved communities. When a guest places an order on the Panda Express mobile app or website using the promo code 'PandaCaresDay,' Panda Express will donate 28 percent of the pre-tax sales to their local CMN hospital.

Panda Cares is funded through the in-store and online donation box program and associates at Panda Express, Panda Inn, and Hibachi-San as well as Panda Restaurant Group partners and founders. The foundation provides food, funding and volunteer services to underserved youth, and disaster relief efforts. For more information about Panda Cares, please visit PandaCares.org. For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].  

About Panda Express®
On a mission to inspire better lives, Panda Express® is the largest Asian dining concept in the U.S. Family-owned and operated since 1983 by co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Express is best known as a trailblazer for creating a wide variety of industry-first recipes, including its best seller the Original Orange Chicken® and award-winning Honey Walnut Shrimp™, which have defined the category of authentic American Chinese cuisine. Each dish at Panda Express is thoughtfully crafted with quality ingredients and inspired by bold Chinese flavors and culinary principles. The restaurant brand has more than 2,200 locations and has introduced American Chinese cuisine to twelve international countries. Powered by this global family of associates, Panda Cares®, Panda's philanthropic arm, has raised more than $216 million and dedicated countless volunteer hours in bettering the health and education for over 12 million youths, as well as supporting communities in need since 1999. In 2020, the organization established the Panda Cares Scholars Program to provide the necessary funding, academic support and leadership development to help high school and college students learn, lead and thrive towards a bright future. For more information about Panda, visit pandaexpress.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

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SOURCE Panda Express