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March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Rita's Italian Ice, the nation's largest Italian Ice concept with over 625 outlets in 20 states announced,
Stuttering Foundation president
Jane Fraser accepted a
$10,000 donation from Tom Christopoul, Chairman of Rita's Italian Ice on behalf of Rita's Treat Team member and top ten finalist,
Lazaro Arbos, from
American Idol 2013 (Season 12), the popular television singing competition, yesterday. Mr. Christopoul presented Ms. Fraser with the donation at Rita's
Naples outlet, Arbos former workplace, in front of the American Idol cameras and a sea of cheering fans.
Jen Gibson, franchisee of Rita's
Naples, who hired the singing sensation, served Lazaro's favorite Rita's Strawberry Lemonade Ice to the crowd of over 100 who wore bright pink shirts which said, "Vote for
Lazaro Arbos" to show their support.
"We couldn't be more proud of Lazaro and we appreciate all Rita's fans who voted for him," said Tom Christopoul, Chairman of Rita's Italian Ice, at the check presentation yesterday. "We encourage others like Lazaro to find their voice, and are pleased to donate
$10,000 to the Stuttering Foundation on behalf of
Lazaro Arbos in support of his determination and strength. Our entire Rita's family is pulling for Lazaro and we wish him continued success!"
Arbos, who turned heads when he first auditioned for American Idol because of his severe stutter, left the judges in absolute shock when his stuttering completely disappeared as he sang. Now
Lazaro Arbos is well on his way to becoming a broadcast superstar earning a coveted spot in the finals for another week on the popular singing competition's national television show.
"We are touched by the kindness of Mr. Christopoul and the Rita's Italian Ice family for this donation on behalf of
Lazaro Arbos," said Fraser at the check presentation yesterday. "The courage of
Lazaro Arbos combined with the generosity of companies like Rita's allows us to continue our mission of helping those who stutter and their families, and educating the public about the
myths and mysteries of stuttering."
Fans decide which singers advance by casting their votes via phone, text, online or through the American Idol app. Rita's isn't leaving anything to chance and is encouraging their Facebook fans to vote for Lazaro.