With over 2,200 locations nationwide, Panda Express® is a household name. Anyone who frequently visits this staple American Chinese restaurant chain knows that at the end of each order, a fortune cookie containing a message of good blessings is presented to you. However, these fortune-filled desserts are not the only kind of good fortune that Panda is spreading to others. Outside of the dining experience, Panda Cares, the philanthropic arm of Panda Restaurant Group, is dedicated to give back to the communities that they operate in, including in Orange County with CHOC.
Serving Orange County and Enriching Children’s Futures
Since 2007, Panda Express and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals have partnered together to positively impact children’s health and well-being. To date, Panda has raised more than $100 million, through donations from guests and associates, for numerous Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In Orange County, more than $2.3 million has been raised for CHOC. These funds are directed toward CHOC’s greatest needs, and it has helped CHOC purchase new technology, alleviate financial burdens, promote medical research and much more.
Throughout the years, Panda Express has also been incredibly generous with in-kind donations to CHOC.
Most frequently, Panda catered and volunteered at the annual CHOC Heart Institute reunion party, a fun event for CHOC associates to get together with former heart patients and their families to celebrate their successes and triumphs over heart-related problems. The day consisted of face painting, arts and crafts and to add to the festivities, the Panda Express mascot made a special appearance, spreading joy to the guests. At the hospital, Panda has donated meals to CHOC patients, families, nurses and associates, making sure that they are well-nourished and are able to enjoy the comfort of a hot meal.
In 2020, when personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply for healthcare workers nationwide due to the influx of COVID-19 cases, Panda responded by donating for these critical supplies to help protect CHOC associates. This gift provided PPE such as gloves, medical masks and face shields that CHOC healthcare workers needed to stay safe as they treated over 3,000 children, teenagers and young adults diagnosed with COVID-19.
Panda’s longstanding partnership with CHOC was further showcased when CHOC opened the Bill Holmes Tower in 2013. As part of CHOC’s newest facility, the child life Kitchenette was named after Panda Restaurant Group, Inc. Located in the building’s playroom space, the Kitchenette is used to teach patients the fundamentals of cooking and has hosted numerous family events. Through the Kitchenette, Panda continues to make a difference at CHOC in its philanthropic efforts towards food and wellness for CHOC’s young patients and their families.
Extending Panda’s Philanthropic Reach at CHOC
Most recently, in July 2021, CHOC announced that Panda Express pledged $5 million to help fund education, groundbreaking research, innovative technology and patient-and family-centered care across CHOC’s healthcare system.
“Panda Express is an inspiring corporate citizen dedicated to making a difference in the communities they serve. Our shared values have made our long-standing partnership incredibly impactful on our providers, staff, patients and their families,” said Doug Corbin, senior vice president and chief development officer of CHOC Foundation.
This generous donation is made possible through the national Panda Cares Center of Hope philanthropic initiative. A partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, this most recent initiative was launched in 2020 to support children’s hospitals’ programs and services, and Panda’s pledge to CHOC includes the naming of two hospital spaces that will help address children’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
“We are proud to partner with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to bring the vision of the Panda Cares Center of Hope to life and are humbled to be able to be part of the healing journey for the families and kids at these hospitals,” said Dr. Peggy Cherng, co-founder and co-CEO of Panda Restaurant Group. “Children are our future, and we hope that through this partnership and curriculum designed to give children the strength to thrive, we will bring smiles and hope to communities nationwide.”
We are fortunate to have Panda’s ongoing support. Their dedication to CHOC allows us to continue our mission in defending childhood and keeping kids happy and healthy.