10-28-13 8:00 AM EDT | Email Article

Applebee’s restaurants marked the start of their national partnership with The Mission Continues, a national veterans service organization, by joining military veterans from The Mission Continues’ Washington, D.C., Service Platoon with a service project in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Applebee's Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Layt (far right) and Spencer Kympton, President ...

Applebee's Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Layt (far right) and Spencer Kympton, President of The Mission Continues (middle in white long sleeves), helped a group of 60 volunteers harvest 1,000 servings of produce from a local orchard in Beltsville, Md., that will yield more than 45,000 pounds of food annually for local residents. The project supported Bread for the City, a local nonprofit that provides food to vulnerable residents in Washington, D.C. The project marked the inaugural event for The Mission Continues' Washington, D.C., Service Platoon's mission: fighting malnutrition and obesity in the nation's capital. (Photo: Business Wire)

Applebee’s Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Layt, Team Members from Applebee’s franchisee Potomac Family Dining and The Mission Continues veterans worked with community volunteers – a group of 60 volunteers – to harvest 1,000 servings of produce from a local orchard that will yield more than 45,000 pounds of food annually for local residents. The project supported Bread for the City, a local nonprofit that provides food to vulnerable residents in Washington, D.C.

The service project marked the inaugural event for the Washington, D.C., Service Platoon’s mission: fighting malnutrition and obesity in the nation’s capital. Applebee’s and The Mission Continues will continue to support Bread for the City with additional efforts throughout 2014.

The Mission Continues empowers veterans to serve their country in new ways through two action-oriented programs. First, The Mission Continues Fellowship harnesses veterans’ strengths, skills and compassion and empowers them to serve in their community on a daily basis over the course of six months. The second, The Mission Continues Service Platoons brings together teams of veterans with local community organizations and volunteers to build stronger communities. Platoons organize monthly service events to address these challenges and have a positive, lasting impact on their communities.

“Many veterans recognize a need in the communities they call home,” said Spencer Kympton, U.S. Army veteran and President of The Mission Continues. “Today's project demonstrates how they can come together in teams to address those needs. We are excited to have Applebee’s serving alongside us at this inaugural mission in Washington, D.C., and also grateful for their nationwide support.”

Applebee’s restaurants across the country will host rally events and generate awareness for veterans serving in their local communities through The Mission Continues. Fellows and veterans of The Mission Continues fellowship program will be participating in Veterans Day events with their local Applebee’s, and in early November, Applebee’s franchisee Southern River Restaurants/Mid River Restaurants in St. Louis will host approximately 40 Mission Continues fellows and program alumni from around the country for a dinner to kick off a special veterans leadership training event.

“It was an honor to work beside veterans who served our country,” said Layt. “Each year, Applebee’s says Thank You to veterans and active duty servicemembers with free meals on Veterans Day and collects messages of appreciation for veterans and active duty servicemembers year-round through the Thank You Movement. We’re honored to begin this new partnership with The Mission Continues to support veterans as they continue to serve our country in their neighborhoods here at home.”

In addition to Washington, D.C., Applebee’s will support Mission Continues projects with kickoff events in Orlando, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego later this year.

In 2014, The Mission Continues will award nearly 300 fellowships to post 9/11 veterans who are committing to serve their local communities as they transition home. Additionally, more platoons will launch across the country by the end of 2014. To get involved, apply for a fellowship or pledge support, visit www.missioncontinues.org/get-involved.

Applebee’s Thank You Movement

Since creating the Thank You Movement in 2011 to collect messages of appreciation for each of the 24 million current and former members of our Armed Forces, Applebee’s has received more than 4.5 million personal Thank You messages through the Thank You Movement website: www.thankyoumovement.com.

Applebee’s Thank You Meals

Applebee’s will continue its annual tradition of serving free meals to current and former servicemembers on Veterans Day. On Monday, Nov. 11, veterans and active duty military can choose from a free Thank You Meal menu that includes some of Applebee’s signature and favorite items.

About Applebee's International, Inc.

Applebee’s (www.applebees.com) is the world’s largest casual dining chain, with approximately 2,000 locations in 49 states, 15 countries and one U.S. territory. Based in Kansas City, Mo., Applebee’s takes pride in providing a welcoming, neighborhood environment where everyone can enjoy the dining experience. Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® is a DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN) brand, and is franchised and operated by Applebee’s International, Inc. and its affiliates.

About The Mission Continues

The Mission Continues is a national nonprofit organization that empowers veterans to serve their country in new ways through two innovative and action-oriented programs. The first, The Mission Continues Fellowship harnesses veterans’ strengths, skills and compassion and empowers them to serve in their community on a daily basis over the course of six months. The second, The Mission Continues Service Platoons brings together teams of veterans with local community organizations and volunteers to build stronger communities. The Mission Continues has helped thousands of post-9/11 veterans focus their talents and energy to tackle challenges facing us right here at home. Through a unique model that provides reciprocal benefit for the veteran and the local community, veterans volunteer to help others and, through their service, build new skills that help them launch their civilian career. To learn more, visit: www.missioncontinues.org or follow the organization on Twitter @missioncontinue.

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