SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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White Castle Promotes Autism Awareness Month With 5th Annual Puzzle Piece Campaign

Castle Shares committed to supporting Autism Speaks

COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- White Castle's commitment to philanthropy continues through its Castle Shares program this April as it kicks off its largest annual charitable fundraiser with sales of puzzle pieces to support Autism Speaks. April is National Autism Awareness Month, right now puzzle pieces are on sale at all locations through May 3, 2014.

Castle Shares logo for White Castle System, Inc.

White Castle has some of the most loyal customers who have mainly been responsible for the donations to Autism Speaks.

"The success of the puzzle piece campaign is not just measured by the amount of money we raise, it's also measured by the impact we can make in our communities where we live and work," said Erin Shannon, corporate relations manager at White Castle and fourth generation family member. "That's why at White Castle, we reach out to our communities and faithful customers everywhere, who continue to support our goal of feeding hunger, hope and dreams."

Last year White Castle Cravers and team members raised more than $600,000 for Autism Speaks by selling puzzle pieces for one month in more than 400 restaurants, setting a campaign record for the fourth straight year. White Castle has donated more than $2.4 million to Autism Speaks from multiple fundraising efforts, which first launched in 2009.

Cravers can purchase puzzle pieces at their local White Castle location for $1, $3 and $5. Each purchase of an Autism Speaks puzzle piece comes with a coupon for one free Chicken Ring Slider good for a later date.

"Our goal is to set a new record by raising $650,000 for Autism Speaks," said Shannon. "White Castle team members strongly support this fundraising effort, and they also participate in Autism Speaks walks in many of their communities."

Autism Speaks is the nation's largest advocacy organization benefiting autism research. Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the prevalence of autism in the U.S. has risen to an estimated 1 in 68 children. This new estimate is roughly 30 percent higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88). The number for boys diagnosed with autism also has increased to 1 in 42. It was previously 1 in 54 boys. Scientists have yet to determine a definitive cause for autism.

About White Castle.
White Castle is a family-owned business based in Columbus, Ohio, that owns and operates more than 400 restaurants in 12 states. The company was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1921 and is America's first fast-food hamburger chain. All White Castle Sliders are made from 100 percent USDA inspected beef. White Castle's commitment to maintaining the highest quality products extends to the company owning and operating its own meat processing plants and bakeries. Craver Nation, White Castle's culture center for Cravers, connects like-minded Cravers from around the globe in a social media setting. For more information on White Castle and Craver Nation, visit WhiteCastle.com and CraverNation.WhiteCastle.com.

About Castle Shares
By feeding hunger, hope and dreams, the White Castle family helps build strong, thriving, Craver communities through the Castle Shares program. Founder Billy Ingram believed in taking care of people and giving back to the community. His philosophy still remains a focus of the family-owned business today. White Castle donates $2.1 million every year to a variety of charities across the nation, including $607,000 to Autism Speaks in 2013. The White Castle family supports more than 50 charities each year with volunteers, money and food donations.

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SOURCE White Castle

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