/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Leading family footwear retailer, Payless ShoeSource, announced today that 630 nonprofit partners located in small towns, mid-size and large cities and rural areas representing 50 states and the District of Columbia have been chosen for its Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program, a national, grass roots campaign aimed at delivering $1 million of shoes to American children of families in need.
Payless is giving nearly 67,000 $15 gift coupons redeemable through Jan. 31, 2009, towards a new pair of kids' shoes at any of the more than 3,600 stores across the United States*.
Nonprofit partners chosen from Atlanta include City Of Refuge Inc., Atlanta Children's Shelter Inc., Atlanta Day Shelter For Women And Children Inc., Midtown Assistance Center Inc., and Jerusalem House Inc.
Payless said that all partners should receive their gift coupons packages today along with a personal letter from Matthew E. Rubel, chairman and chief executive officer of Collective Brands, Inc., which owns Payless, with a special request to get the coupons into the hands of the children that need them in time for the holidays. The quantity of gift coupons per agency was based on agency size and the number of constituents served. Packages landing today include as many as 200 coupons for some agencies. Many agencies will also provide transportation for group shopping trips to the local Payless stores.
"Kids will start shopping today for their free shoes," said Rubel. "A great pair of shoes can lift spirits, bolster self confidence and bring a huge smile to a child's face. The recipient children can actually select their own shoes -- which will be an even more inspiring experience for them. Together, with our partners, we are thrilled to deliver a true gift to so many families this holiday season."
Payless initiated the new program in response to the economic crisis, its impact on the underprivileged, the significant need across the United States for children's shoes, and to support smaller, localized nonprofits with a tool to assist them in helping those in need this holiday season.
The company launched the program on Nov. 11 with a call to action to the non-profit community to apply to be partners in the national shoe-gifting campaign with an aim to build a network of localized organizations across the nation for immediate, direct access to kids in need. In a 10-day application period, the retailer received more than 2,500 applicants at its application website http://www.paylessgives.com/ and inquiries from more than 3,000 U.S. cities nationwide. The application period is now closed.
"We were overwhelmed by the response from the non-profit community to join us in this important effort -- to give a free pair of shoes to children in need this holiday season," said Rubel. "Our intent is to work with and through a diverse network of localized non-profits that have direct and immediate access to the children. Our chosen partners -- 630 in all -- represent every state and a diverse group of non-profits located in small towns, mid-sized and large cities, as well as rural areas so that we can blanket the nation and most effectively reach those in need."
Greater Horizons of Kansas City, also a nonprofit, served as the independent third-party to manage the selection process based on Payless' core selection criteria, which included IRC 501(c) (3) status, filing form 990, and direct access to underprivileged children in local communities during December.
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