DETROIT, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- There are children in the United States whose only shoes are ill-fitting or worn-out. That's why Buick, the NCAA and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) are teaming up with Samaritan's Feet to donate 2,011 pairs of shoes and socks to kids in need during the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship week in Houston, March 28-31.
This year's NCAA Final Four® marks the first association of Buick with Samaritan's Feet, a charity supported by the NCAA during the Men's Final Four week that has donated shoes to more than 3 million kids in 40 countries. On March 31, Buick executives and local dealers will help each recipient get fitted with a new pair of shoes.
"This is an outstanding effort to protect kids' feet and promote an active lifestyle," said Tony DiSalle, U.S. vice president, Buick Marketing. "By working together, Buick, Samaritan's Feet, the NCAA and the coaches of college basketball stand to make a profound difference in scores of young lives."
Buick is working with Samaritan's Feet to distribute 150 pairs of shoes to kids in Detroit as well.
While having one or more pairs of shoes is taken for granted in developed nations, more than 300 million children around the world go without shoes, and nearly 1 million die each year as a result of soil-transmitted illnesses and foot-borne diseases. In its effort to promote foot health for children, Samaritan's Feet has a long-term goal to fit 10 million kids with 10 million pairs of shoes in 10 years.
The organization's founder, former University of North Dakota basketball player Emmanuel "Manny" Ohonme, credits the inspiration for his non-profit organization to his own experience as an impoverished 9-year-old boy in Nigeria where a "Good Samaritan" from Wisconsin gave him his first pair of shoes.
Ohonme's achievements will be featured in the Buick Human Highlight Reel, a collection and archive of complete stories that will appear online at www.ncaa.com/buick. Additionally, CBS will air a Buick-branded, 30-minute television show, which will feature select Human Highlight Reel stories, prior to the NCAA Final Four semifinal games on April 2. Selected video profiles also will air during coverage of the tournament on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.
"I've never forgotten how getting my first pair of shoes made a profound difference in my life. It was a symbol of hope," Ohonme said. "It is our goal to bring that message of hope to children everywhere, and we are greatly encouraged by the support we've received from Buick, the NCAA and members of the NABC who have coached games barefoot to create awareness at this exciting event."
Buick is a modern luxury brand offering vehicles with sculpted designs, luxurious interiors with thoughtful personal technologies, along with responsive-yet-efficient performance. Buick is attracting new customers with its portfolio of award-winning models, including the Enclave crossover, LaCrosse sedan, Regal sport sedan and highly anticipated all-new 2012 Buick Verano compact luxury sedan. Buick is the fastest growing major brand in the U.S. and remains a best-selling brand in China, with continuing record growth. Learn more about Buick cars and crossovers at www.buick.com, on Twitter @buick or at www.facebook.com/buick.
SOURCE General Motors