CKE Restaurants, parent company to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurant chains, launched the Stars for Troops fundraising campaign this week at participating restaurant locations. The campaign hopes to harness the national reach of both brands and the generosity of its customers to rally behind the nation’s military families and veterans. Funds raised in this year’s campaign will assist those groups through national charity partnerships with Homes for Our Troops and USA Cares.
The Stars for Troops fundraising campaign kicks off May 2 at Hardee’s and May 4 at Carl’s Jr. and will run for three weeks. To participate, restaurant guests donate $1 in support of military charities. For each $1 donation, guests receive a commemorative “Stars for Troops” cutout to personalize and place on display in the restaurant; in addition, they receive restaurant coupons valued at more than $10 to use toward future purchases.
“Advocating for our military families and veterans is a cause close to my heart and the hearts of our CKE employees, our franchisees, and guests,” says Andrew F. Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants. “Through our military charity partnerships, our customers’ generous contributions will go toward building homes and gifts of basic necessities for our injured veterans, as well as providing them and their families with crucial financial and advocacy support.
"We set lofty fundraising goals for previous fundraising campaigns, but I have faith in the American public and know that our consumers are generous of heart," Puzder says. "I have high hopes that we can achieve the same great results for veterans and military personnel that we have in the past with our charitable programs.”
Previous to Stars for Troops, CKE Restaurants helped raise more than $4.1 million over six years in support of breast cancer screenings and research—surpassing the $1 million mark in both 2009 and 2010. The idea for such a fundraising drive began with the Carl’s Jr. franchise group, the Star Franchise Association, in 2005. Hardee’s franchise group, the International Hardee’s Franchise Association, joined the fundraising program in 2007. CKE Restaurants is dedicated to an annual fundraising campaign, which raises money for a cause important to guests, franchisees, employees, and their families. It was these groups who helped choose the new campaign focus and subsequent beneficiaries.
“Our franchise community is excited to support CKE and the new Stars for Troops charitable program,” says Daljit Hundal, president of the Star Franchise Association (SFA) and president of Hundal Foods, a Carl’s Jr. franchisee. “Through our past success with the Pink Star program, we’ve shown that collectively, we can really make a difference. We’re looking forward to helping raise both funds and awareness for the programs and services provided to our troops and veterans by Homes for Our Troops and USA Cares.”
"As Hardee's franchise operators, we're thrilled to participate in this new opportunity because vets and military families are important to our customers, employees, and communities," says Jack Mangan, vice president of the International Hardee’s Franchise Association (IHFA) and president of Restaurant Management Group (RMG), a Hardee’s franchisee. "This is a meaningful way for all of us to support our vets and their families through charities and advocacy groups that can make a difference."
The “Stars for Troops” cutouts that will be on display in restaurants combine Happy Star, which is the icon for both Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., and stars and stripes, representing the American flag and pride of the U.S. military. The visual impact of the stars, standing point to point lining restaurants’ walls is intended to serve as both a symbol and a reminder of how we can join together as a force to support those who have dedicated their lives to serve and protect us.
The funds raised through the 2011 Stars for Troops spring fundraiser will directly support both local and national programs of Homes for Our Troops and USA Cares throughout the entire year. CKE Restaurants has been working with both charitable organizations on their regional programs to highlight areas where local Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, staff, and franchisees can play a crucial role in assisting these communities. Additional funds will also be earmarked to benefit regional veterans and military groups with existing ties to individual Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurant communities.
“The Stars for Troops campaign will greatly help us provide injured veterans and their families with homes that will help restore their freedom and independence,” says Dawn Teixeira, executive director for Homes for Our Troops. “Since 2004, Homes for Our Troops has committed to rebuilding the lives of 100 military families. This commitment is set to be fulfilled in 2011. With help from Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, we can look to building 100 more.”
“USA Cares has been working directly with active duty soldiers, veterans, Guard and Reserve members, and their families every day since 2003,” says Bill Nelson, executive director of USA Cares. “The Stars for Troops campaign raises not only much-needed funds to support these families who have fallen between the cracks of the government support structure, but also to raise public awareness of the thousands of brave men and women who sacrificed their health in the name of our freedom.”
To learn more about the Stars for Troops national beneficiaries, see the video posted on the Carls’ Jr . and Hardee’s  YouTube pages. You may also visit them directly at www.homesforourtroops.org  and www.usacares .org.