DALLAS, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Chili's® Grill & Bar is known for making people feel special, and last month, guests and team members alike carried out the brand's passion by helping raise more than $5 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® during the ninth annual Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign. A reflection of the generosity and support of guests and restaurant team members nationwide and in Puerto Rico, contributions from this year brings the campaign's total to more than $46 million, an arm's reach from the brand's $50 million, 10-year commitment. Once completed, it will be the largest donation from a single-partner campaign in St. Jude history.
The 2012 Create-A-Pepper campaign, which ran throughout September as part of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, provided guests with a number of in-restaurant and digital fundraising opportunities designed to provide research and treatment for children suffering from cancer and other deadly childhood diseases. Campaign donations support the treatment of St. Jude patients like 11-year-old Amber, so they do not miss out on special moments in life. Amber was preparing to go on a family vacation when she learned she had Wilms tumor, a type of disease which spread to multiple areas in her abdomen and lungs. Thanks to the care provided by St. Jude, and support of campaigns like Create-A-Pepper, Amber is clear of the disease today and back taking care of her guests – the friends and family attending her elegant tea parties.
"Since 2003, the Create-A-Pepper campaign has brought Chili's team members and the communities we serve together under a common goal – to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, so it can carry out the mission of finding cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases," said Wyman Roberts, president of Chili's Grill & Bar. "Whether you stepped inside our restaurants and designed a chili-pepper coloring sheet, donated online, or showed your support of our campaign in other ways, we thank you. The compassion for St. Jude fills our hearts and makes Chili's proud to be a part of this life-changing cause."
In addition to coloring the traditional chili-pepper sheet, guests contributed to the success of this year's campaign in-restaurant by purchasing and decorating Create-A-Pepper merchandise, such as T-shirts and Zipper Pulls. Guests also came out in droves to the brand's annual Donate Profits Day, the one day during the campaign where all participating Chili's restaurants donate 100 percent of net profits to the hospital.
"This year's Create-A-Pepper campaign was a huge success, raising more than $5 million to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude," said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/ St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "We are incredibly grateful to Chili's and its guests. Because of their generosity, no family ever pays St. Jude for anything and our research discoveries are helping to save countless children around the world."
To further support St. Jude, Chili's guests took full advantage of the campaign's digital components, engaging with the brand and helping spread the word to their online communities. Highlights include:
- 19,509 visitors to the Create-A-Pepper donation website during the month of September; and
- 4,115 guests decorated and shared their digital take on the chili-pepper coloring sheet.
About St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Since opening 50 years ago, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives and, for every child treated here, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life. Join that mission by visiting stjude.org or following us on facebook.com/stjude and twitter.com/stjude.
About Chili's Grill & Bar
Chili's Grill & Bar is the flagship brand of Dallas-based Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT), a recognized leader in casual dining. Chili's offers a fun, energetic atmosphere and a distinct, fresh mix of grilled American favorites at more than 1,500 locations in 33 countries and two territories. Brinker's wholly-owned restaurant brands include Chili's® Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy®. Brinker also holds a minority investment in Romano's Macaroni Grill®. Follow news about Chili's on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chilis, @Chilis on Twitter and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/chilis. For more information, please visit www.chilis.com.
About Create-A-Pepper Each September during National Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Chili's® Grill & Bar kicks off a nationwide fundraiser for longtime charitable partner, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® in an effort to raise $50 million in 10 years to support the St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving children. Throughout the Create-A-Pepper to Fight Childhood Cancer campaign, guests at locations nationwide and in Puerto Rico can help support the lifesaving work of St. Jude through several in-restaurant, digital and interactive promotions. For additional information about the campaign, please visit www.createapepper.com.
SOURCE Chili's Grill & Bar