Pancake lovers all across the nation piled into to their local IHOPs for National Pancake Day 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

During the annual "pancakes with a purpose" event, guests enjoyed a free short stack of the restaurant's original buttermilk pancakes and were given the opportunity to help children battling critical illnesses.

"Every stack counts," the event flyer reads.

According to the flyer, every stack served helps the restaurant chain reach its goal of raising $5 million for local children's hospitals and health organizations including the Children's Miracle Network, Shriners Hospitals for Children and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Since the pancake day began in 2006, IHOP and its annual guests have raised close to $30 million for the community partners.

The Conway IHOP manager said by 2 p.m. it already had a good crowd, about the same as last year, and many people had given toward the cause.

Miss University of Central Arkansas 2018 Megan McAfee joined the group of eaters.

"My role [during] the National Pancake Day at IHOP is just to encourage people to have a giving heart and to use that money that they would regularly spend on pancakes and put that toward the Children'ts Network Hospitals of America," she said. "All across America today, title holders are encouraging people to give."

McAfee said the cause is worthy of people's time and money.

"Not only are Children's Miracle Network Hospitals all over the U.S. but we have one right down the road in Little Rock and a new one … a second one in the state," she said. "So, being able to help out not only nationally but locally as well and helping out your neighbor is always important. Using a day to get a yummy treat and being able to help someone at the same time is a great day to do it."

McAfee said her favorite part of the event has always been seeing the community come together to not only enjoy some good pancakes, but also to lend a helping hand to those who need it most.

"Knowing that just down the road in Little Rock, there are children needing our help and today we did just that," she said. "I loved getting to talk to everyday people and hear their stories."

Whether someone is a child, college student, or seasoned adult, McAfee said, she saw Tuesday that no one is ever too young to help someone in need.

According to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals website, All the money raised by IHOP stays local and goes directly to providing "life-saving medical treatment and health care services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care for children in need."