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Panda Cares for CHKD

Every time a Panda Express Customer makes a donation to CHKD by rounding up their bill, someone rings a bell and all the associates chime in together to say: “Thank you!”

Expressing their gratitude is just one example of the man ways Panda Express employees engage with their community in meaningful ways to help children. Throughout the year, associates volunteer at CHKD events, bringing specialty dishes from their restaurants to families whose children are hospitalized.

“We’re doing what we can to be involved,” says Ilaisa Sablay, a general manager for Panda Express. “It provides an opportunity for my associates to see the impact of the work we do.”

Panda Express operates 14 restaurants in the Hampton Roads area with roughly 250 employees. Ilaisa says the partnership Panda has with CHKD allows employees to truly feel part of a community. Last year, associates volunteered at the hospital’s NICU reunion, a fall festival for children with special needs, and CHKD’s annual Radiothon fundraiser. During these events, associates heard amazing stories of strength and courage from patient families who attended.

“It’s important for our associates to see where the donations go – how it flows to CHKD and makes a difference,” Ilaisa says. “When they come back from these events, they’re inspired.”

Panda Express has a long history of giving back to local communities. Since 1999, Panda Cares – the company’s charitable foundation – has raised more than $140 million to help healthcare, education and disaster relief programs. Of those funds, $59.4 million went to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, supporting 134 children’s hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, including CHKD.

“Our passion for giving means that we contribute to the communities in which our restaurants operate in any way we can,” says Andrew Cherng, chairman and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group.

Local Panda restaurants have raised more than $400,000 for CHKD since starting their round-up campaign in 2016. Nearly half of those donations were made in the past year.

Ilaisa says volunteering at CHKD has been a humbling and motivating experience. “It’s inspiring to see parents with so much resilience fight for their children who need specialized care and attention.”