On Tuesday, you can get free pancakes and support a good cause.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time Tuesday, International House of Pancakes will have its 12th annual National Pancake Day, and participating International House of Pancakes restaurants are giving away free short stacks of three buttermilk pancakes. Some locations will have extended hours until 10 p.m.

A short stack usually costs $4.79.

This year's Pancake Day falls a week after the celebrations of Fat Tuesday. Although the pancakes are free, Glendale, Calif.-based IHOP hopes customers will put that money and more toward a donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“Every pancake served on IHOP National Pancake Day has a purpose, and every penny raised goes a long way in making a meaningful, and lasting, impact on so many kids and families in our communities,” IHOP President Darren Rebelez said in a news release.

The goal of the annual event is to raise $3.5 million for “finding cures and eradicating life-threatening diseases affecting children and families everywhere,” Rebelez's statement said. The almost 1,700 IHOP restaurants are located in all 50 states the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. IHOP locations in Canada, Mexico and the Philippines also will participate though the company's restaurants in more than a half dozen other foreign countries won't be a part of Pancake Day.

Customers also can pledge their support now through Tuesday by purchasing a certificate that will be placed on their local restaurant's wall or making a donation on their check.

Since the first National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP has raised $24 million for youth health and wellness organizations, the company said. All of the money stays in each local community and directly helps children in need.

A guest can receive only one free short stack Tuesday and must dine in the restaurant.

Because the offer is available only while supplies last, you might want to call before heading out to make sure they have pancakes left.

Go to ihoppancakeday.com to find your closest IHOP and to learn how to donate online.

IHOP's parent company also owns Applebee's International. In 2008, about six months after the company bought Applebee's International, the combined company changed its name to DineEquity and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DIN.

Its shares were trading at $53.46 right before Monday's close, down 1 cent from Friday's close.