CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc., parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, announced Tuesday that its annual Stars for Heroes in-store fundraising campaign raised $1.5 million in 2016—up from 2015’s $1.4 million—to benefit U.S. military veterans and their families. Funds raised will support national charity partners, Gary Sinise Foundation, Stand Up and Play Foundation, and USA Cares, as well as dozens of regional, and local military-focused charities in the communities that Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s serve.
“Since the program’s launch in 2011, Stars for Heroes has harnessed the national reach of CKE’s company operated and franchised restaurants, as well as the generosity of customers to raise over $6.5 million cumulatively,” says Andy Puzder, chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants. “Each year brings more success and this trend of exemplary performance would not be possible without the support and leadership of both John Nelson, president of the Star Franchise Association and Nick Shurgot, president of the Independent Hardee’s Franchise Association, as well as our employees, franchisees and restaurant crews.”
The campaign, which ran from May 25 to June 1, encouraged restaurant guests to donate $1 and receive a commemorative “Stars for Heroes” cutout to personalize and place on display in the restaurant. As a thank you for their donation, customers received $10 worth of Carl’s Jr. or Hardee’s coupons to use toward future purchases.
Over the last five years, CKE has supported USA Cares, a non-profit organization that helps post-9/11 military families bear the burdens of service with financial and advocacy support. Its mission is to help with basic needs during financial crisis, to assist combat injured veterans and their families and to prevent private military home foreclosures and evictions.
"USA Cares is honored to work with the CKE franchise community, the employees, and compassionate customers, to make a significant difference for a significant number of military veterans and their families. The support from the Stars for Heroes program has empowered USA Cares to answer more calls for immediate financial relief, and provide the assistance these veterans need to get back on their feet. CKE has taken the lead to ‘pay it forward’ to assist these military families in crisis, and they truly value those that served our Nation," says Hank Patton, executive director of USA Cares.
In addition to USA Cares, CKE selected the Gary Sinise Foundation as its second national beneficiary in 2016. The Gary Sinise Foundation serves our nation through honoring defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.
“We are so honored to be recognized by CKE Restaurants as one of the beneficiaries of this generous donation,” says Sinise, founder of the Gary Sinise Foundation. “These funds will allow us to continue and expand our efforts to help those who serve this great nation.”
The Stand Up and Play Foundation was also selected as a 2016 national beneficiary and will receive Stars for Heroes funds for their own tireless work to support veterans in need. The Stand Up and Play Foundation assists wheelchair users and veterans with impaired mobility by providing access to a unique piece of equipment, the Paramobile, that allows them to stand up and play sports and engage in everyday activities. The foundation provides the unique combination of the Paramobile, adaptive equipment and well trained volunteers to give users unimagined levels of freedom and independence.
“We are truly thankful for CKE’s commitment and dedication to the veteran community,” adds Anthony Netto, founder of the Stand Up and Play Foundation. “Due to this year’s record-breaking Stars for Heroes campaign, we expect to equip 40 people with life-changing Paramobiles.”