ONTARIO -- The new Panda Express in Ontario will celebrate its grand opening Friday with a charity fundraiser.
The restaurant will donate 50 percent of its Friday proceeds to Ontario Youth Sports, an organization that provides community-based programs and youth sports leagues throughout the year.
Guests must mention to the cashier upon ordering that they are there to support the fundraiser in order to participate. Guests who order online can take part in the fundraiser by entering promo code 309019.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Ken Spencer, director of Ontario Youth Sports. “It’s nice to see companies that are just coming into town already wanting to be a part of our community.”
Ontario Youth Sports was founded in 1998 as a youth sports league, but has expanded its operations to offer other events like movie nights, yoga and concerts in the park.
Spencer said money raised through the Panda Express fundraiser will go toward the organization’s new adaptive youth sports program, which includes baseball and soccer leagues for children with special needs.
The Tomahawk teams are free to join and open to children ages 4-18 or up to 20 if they are still enrolled in school.
“We don’t charge those families to participate in the league. Registration, uniforms, everything is paid for by our community sponsors,” said Spencer.
Spencer added Ontario Youth Sports’ community events are free to the public, thanks to the support of local businesses. Panda Express has become one among “literally dozens” that contribute.
“There’s so many cool things that we’re able to offer because of our community sponsors,” said Spencer.
The new Panda Express, located at 994 N. Lexington-Springmill Road, brought approximately 25 new jobs to the area.
Panda Express management stated the restaurant will continue to seek new fundraising opportunities with like-minded organizations that work to better the community.
“The entire Panda Family is excited to bring our original American Chinese comfort food to the local residents,” said Justin Chen, Panda Express area coach of operations.
“We are thrilled to expand within Richland County and serve the local residents of Ontario by providing our fan favorite menu items, creating job opportunities and providing community support," Chen said.