Local Panda Express raises $25,000 for Children’s Miracle Network

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JOPLIN, Mo. — No one ever expects to have their life impacted by Children’s Miracle Network, but it’s there just in case.

That’s what one area woman found out a few years ago.

And she’s devoted her life to giving back to CMN, in more ways than one.

Susan Crespino, General Manager, Panda Express, said, “Well I have twins that were born early and the NICU department at Freeman Hospital was able to have what we needed to keep my boys here and if it wasn’t for that equipment I wouldn’t have my babies today.”

That’s why Susan Crespino, the General Manager at the Joplin Panda Express restaurant is so driven to raise money for CMN.

And she’s quite good at it.

“Every guest that comes in we ask them if they’d like to donate, and we ask them how much they would like to donate and we ring a bell and it’s a big deal in my store, in my store’s very passionate about it, we really want to raise this money for local CMN and that is a huge thing so here we ask donations, people can give a dollar amount, they can round up their change.”

Last year her store raised nearly $25,000 for CMN.

Those efforts caught the corporate eye of the company.

“If we didn’t have the community in our building everyday, we wouldn’t be here today and part of our mission is to give back, we live in this community, we don’t just take from it, we always give back.”

But the store doesn’t just raise money for CMN.

“Any school, any not for profit can do fundraising, they just have to apply at Panda Express Dot Com and we will immediately we get a request from that point I just approve it and they bring in the sales and we give them 20 percent.”

But Michaela Bennett says with Crespino, it’s not just about fundraising.

Michaela Bennett, CMN Program Director, said, “Susan is one of our biggest Champions, along with her kiddos being Ambassadors. she’s really a resource for our other families, a support system for them.”

A film crew shot a story with her, her employees, and her family last week that will profile their story.

Once edited, it will appear both on CMN’s national website, as well as the Panda Express national website.

And those little babies aren’t little anymore, both are now in high school.

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