It's Feb. 23, and you know what that means: put on your adjustable-waistband pants and head over to IHOP for your free short stack of three buttermilk pancakes.

The annual giveaway technically is absolutely free, but is offered in the hope that those who partake of the chowdown make a donation to support local children's hospitals through Children's Miracle Network or other local charities. Over the past 4 years, the company has raised more than $3.25 million. This year, it hopes donations will bring the 5-year total to $5 million.

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In the past, the event has taken place on Shrove Tuesday -- also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras -- in keeping with the centuries-old tradition of using up all the milk, eggs and butter before the traditional Christian Lenten fast. But this year, IHOP has delayed the giveaway by a week in order to maximize its fundraising potential.

The free-for-all runs all day, from 7 a.m. through 10 p.m.

MORE: Find IHOPs on Long Island