Olive Garden kicks off Pasta For Pennies

Olive Garden kicks off 13th-annual Pasta For Pennies benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ --

Two million elementary, middle and high school students in more than 2,700 schools across the country will soon begin collecting spare change for Olive Garden's Pasta For Pennies, a program benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's School & Youth campaign.

Since the campaign's inception 13 years ago, Olive Garden's Pasta For Pennies has raised more than $31 million, thanks to the efforts of students, parents, teachers and school administrators across the nation. During a three-week period between January and May, students bring spare change to their classrooms. The money raised through student contributions supports leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma research and patient services. The class in each school that raises the most money receives a pasta party delivered to their classroom and served by their local Olive Garden.

"Pasta For Pennies last year raised a record-breaking $4.2 million solely through student contributions," said Dwayne Howell, the Society's CEO and president. "Each penny contributed helps advance the Society's mission of finding cures for blood cancers and improving the quality of life for patients and their families."

In addition to serving a pasta party at each school, Olive Garden also hosts kick-off lunches in the restaurant for representatives of participating schools. To ensure a successful fundraising campaign, Olive Garden also provides marketing support and materials for more than 45 of the Society's chapters across the country.

"The students who participate in Pasta For Pennies are passionate about supporting families and classmates in communities across the country. They are learning at a young age how important and fulfilling community service can be," Olive Garden President Dave Pickens said. "We look forward to another year of extraordinary results for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and in the lives of the people they serve."

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, headquartered in White Plains, NY, is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The Society's mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has invested more than $483 million for research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, the Society made 4.2 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals through services provided at its home office and by its 66 chapters in the United States and Canada. For more information about the Society, visit http://www.LLS.org.

Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with 595 restaurants, more than 70,000 employees and $2.6 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest casual dining company in sales and market share. For more information, visit Olive Garden's Web site at http://www.olivegarden.com.


President's Day - A Time to Celebrate Abraham Lincoln and Cheaper Pennies

President's Day gives us the chance - at least once a year - to recognize Abraham Lincoln's immense contributions to the country and a legacy that continues to enrich us daily.

President Lincoln is a unique cultural and historical figure," said Mark Weller, Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents. "It's not just that the front of the penny has had Lincoln's image since 1909, it's what Lincoln did for our nation," Weller added "He possessed all the qualities we want in a president -- the ability to unite a divided nation, honesty, strength, and humility," Weller concluded.

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Special Announcement!

Pennies for Pasta and Pennies for Patients

These are run by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through its local chapters as part of its renamed Student Series program:  www.studentseries.org

For more information, you should call your local Chapter which may be found by going to the Society's website at: www.lls.org

Please note Americans for Common Cents does not get actively engaged in any fundraising activities.

Collapse of the zinc market means the penny is cheaper to make; saves taxpayers!

A collapse in metals prices means U.S. coins, including the penny, are less expensive to make. The penny has reached its lowest cost in seven years. Each 1-cent coin, made almost entirely of zinc, now costs the taxpayer much less to produce and its likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

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More than Two-Thirds of Americans Still Favor Keeping the Penny

Recent Poll Shows Increasing Penny Support and Concern About Price Increases If Penny Is Eliminated

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A poll released today by Americans for Common Cents (ACC) continues to show overwhelming and increasing support for the penny by the American public. 68% of those surveyed favor keeping the penny in circulation, representing a slight increase since the last poll in 2012.

"These results confirm the strong and unwavering support the penny continues to receive from Americans," said Mark Weller, Executive Director of ACC. Weller's group includes more than 50 organizations that support continued production of the penny.

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