2009 Giving Program Goes International -- Retailer Calls on Non-Profit
Organizations to Apply to Participate in the Grass Roots Giving Effort to
Establish Network of Hundreds of Charities to Directly Distribute Free
TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Leading family footwear retailer, Payless ShoeSource, announced today the launch again this year of its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program aimed at delivering more than $1.2 million USD worth of children's shoes to children of families in need this holiday season through a massive grass roots approach involving a network of hundreds of charity partners. In addition, the retailer said it is expanding this year's program internationally to include Canada and across the Western Hemisphere, where the majority of its more than 4,500 stores are located.
Payless will give more than 77,000 gift coupons redeemable through Feb. 28, 2010, toward a new pair of kids' shoes at any of its stores located in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries including the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia. Canada will receive 4,000 free shoe gift coupons valued at $100,000 CDN that will be provided to local charities and distributed to local children of families in need.
"In America the economy appears to be on the mend, but times are still difficult on Main Street and the economic challenges are rippling across the globe," said Matthew E. Rubel, Chairman and CEO of Collective Brands, Inc., which owns Payless ShoeSource. "Footwear is a basic need that many of us take for granted, and yet a significant number of children need shoes. In a difficult economy, the underprivileged are hurt more than any other group and the charities that assist them are often underfunded. That's why we are expanding our Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program to Canada, Puerto Rico, and our Latin American countries and calling on charity partners again this year to help us establish an extending network to get the gift of shoes to children that need it the most this holiday season."
A Call to Non-Profits in Canada
Through this year's effort, Payless said it expects to give away more than 77,000 pairs of new shoes valued at more than $1.2 million USD through a network of hundreds of localized charities. Partnering with local charities offers a grass roots approach -- an important element of the program. It allows Payless to most effectively reach children that need shoes; it also ensures widespread and diverse coverage in urban and rural areas, as well as assists non-profits during the economic downturn as many charities, especially the small to medium sized organizations, are experiencing reduced giving among contributors.
Non-profit organizations based in Canada interested in joining Payless in its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program can apply at www.paylessgives.com by completing a short online application. Core selection criteria includes a mission to serve children and families in the local area, direct access to underprivileged children in local communities to distribute the coupons by Dec. 24, and close proximity to Payless stores. Canadian charities must have filed a T3010A or T3010B Registered Charity Information Return for the most recent fiscal year, be located in cities which have Payless ShoeSource stores and be registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency. The application process for non-profit partners of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program ends Oct. 30.
Gift of Shoes, Self Confidence
A striking number of children don't have shoes that fit. Studies show that properly fitting shoes can enhance self confidence in children and aid in their proper development and growth. As well, with rising unemployment and food costs, it is difficult for parents to cover basic needs, thus making the holidays an even more stressful time for struggling families. According to Stats Canada, the number of Canadians collecting unemployment has exceeded 800,000, surpassing the highest levels in over a decade and an estimated 637,000 Canadians under the age of 18 live in low-income households.
"A great pair of shoes can lift spirits, bolster self esteem and, as we witnessed first-hand when we launched the program last year, bring a huge smile to a child's face," said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless. "We are thrilled to expand this important holiday giving campaign to the majority of our store chain and to reach deeper into the communities in which we operate to give this holiday gift to children. We hope to take one concern off parents' plates for tens of thousands of families this holiday season."
About Payless' Giving Programs
Payless first launched the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program last year in the U.S. through a unique grass roots approach by partnering with localized non-profit partners throughout America to join in the giving campaign. Last year, more than 630 non-profit partners in 50 states and the District of Columbia joined Payless to blanket the nation and deliver $1 million USD of free shoes to children of families in need across American. Please see http://www.facebook.com/PaylessGives1 for updates and photos on this year's program.
Payless also has many established programs to support important causes by selling unique, on-trend items, making them accessible with affordable price points, and partnering with shoppers by donating a 100 per cent of the net profits from item sales to a cause. Through such programs, Payless supports Breast Cancer Awareness in October and also has an alliance with the Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign where it is donating $1USD - the cost to plant one tree in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil -- for every exclusive reusable shopping bag sold. These are among the Payless and Collective Brands, Inc. giving programs.
About Payless & Collective Brands, Inc.
Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of second quarter 2009, the company operated more than 4,500 stores.
Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS) is a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide. The company operates three strategic units covering a powerful brand portfolio, as well as multiple price points and selling channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing. Collective Brands, Inc. includes Payless ShoeSource, focused on democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories through its more than 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk(R), American Eagle by Payless, Dexter(R), Champion(R), Zoe & Zac(TM), the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Abaeté for Payless, Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, alice + olivia for Payless, Christian Siriano for Payless and STLPxAirwalk, among others; Collective Brands Performance + Lifestyle Group, focused on lifestyle and performance branded footwear and high-quality children's footwear sold primarily through wholesaling, with its brands including Stride Rite(R), Keds(R), Sperry Top-Sider(R), Robeez(R), and Saucony(R), among others; and Collective Licensing International, the brand development, management and global licensing unit, with such youth lifestyle brands as Airwalk(R), Vision Street Wear(R), Sims(R), Lamar(R) and LTD(R). Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.
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SOURCE PAYLESS SHOESOURCE, INC.
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