TOPEKA, Kan., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Payless ShoeSource is getting into the holiday spirit early with the launch today of its three-week application period for non-profit agencies to join the retailer in its big holiday giving program, Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids, where it will deliver more than $1.2 million of free shoes to children of families in need across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and in 10 Latin American countries.
In the program's third year, Payless plans to give away more than 77,000 pairs of new shoes this holiday season through a network of hundreds of localized charities. This local, grass roots approach helps Payless directly and more effectively reach children in need of shoes and ensures widespread coverage across urban and rural areas.
Now through Nov. 5 Payless is inviting non-profit partners located in the U.S. and Canada to apply at www.paylessgives.com. Charity partners in Puerto Rico and the Latin American countries will be selected in-country through a separate process. Selected partners will receive free shoe coupons to distribute to their clients -- delivering the gift of free, new shoes to children that need them the most.
"In its third year, the goal of the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program remains the same -- to provide footwear, a basic necessity, to children who might otherwise go without," said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless. "The success of the program over the past two years, and the number of children and families we have been able to assist, continues to drive our efforts. Unemployment is still very high, affecting many families that still struggle to provide their children with basic essentials. This is especially challenging during the holidays, and we hope to make a bigger impact than ever this year."
Last year, Payless was joined by 750 non-profit partners. This year, it expects to continue building a powerful international network of charity partners to give shoes to needy children in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and 10 Latin American countries including the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia.
Shoes: A True Gift
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. Across the globe, it continues to be difficult for struggling families to cover basic needs, making the holidays a time of stress instead of a celebration with family.
"For many families, the need for a new pair of shoes is a fun, quick trip to the store. But for others it is a financial burden and an impossible expense," said Via. "We are here to help. In this season of giving we want as many children as possible to experience the simple joy of a shoe-shopping trip and new pair of shoes. We want them to walk into one of our stores, look up at rows of shoeboxes with big eyes, and point to the pair that makes them smile."
Social Media To Spread the Word
Payless is implementing an aggressive social media campaign to help reach individuals who can help spread the word about the program to the non-profit community through outlets such as Facebook and others. This year, the campaign is also strengthened by an updated website, www.paylessgives.com, and the implementation of a new streamlined application process.
About Payless' Giving Programs
Payless first launched the Payless Gives Shoes 4 Kids program domestically in 2008 through a unique grass roots approach by partnering with localized non-profit partners throughout America to join in the giving campaign to give away $1 million worth of free, new shoes. In 2009, Payless extended the program beyond the U.S. to reach families in Canada and 10 Latin American countries, delivering more than 77,000 free shoe coupons totaling more than $1.2 million of free shoes.
Since 2004, Payless has also established formal programs to support important causes by selling on-trend items and making them accessible at affordable price points and then partnering with shoppers, often donating 100 percent of the net profits from item sales to a non-profit partner. Through such programs, Payless supports breast cancer awareness and is a member of the $1 Million Council with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The retailer celebrates Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month by establishing the Payless Inspiring Possibilities Scholarships with the National Urban League and Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, respectively, to support the higher education of America's minority youth. Payless supports inner city youth in New York City with its Friendship Shoe program with proceeds benefitting The Fresh Air Fund, which provides free summer vacations to underprivileged children living in the New York City area. Payless also has an alliance with the Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign where it is donating $1 – the cost to plant one tree in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil -- for every 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 2010, the company operated nearly 4,500 stores. In addition, customers can buy shoes over the Internet through Payless.com® at www.payless.com.
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 nearly 4,500-store retail chain, with its brands Airwalk(R), Dexter(R), Champion(R), Zoe & Zac(TM), the first-ever affordable green footwear brand, and designer collections Lela Rose for Payless, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose, Christian Siriano for Payless, Patricia Field for Payless, Isabel Toledo for Payless and STPL x Airwalk, 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), Above The Rim(R), Vision Street Wear(R), STRIKEFORCE(TM), Clinch Gear(TM), Sims(R), Lamar(R) and LTD(R), World Snowboarding Championships(TM) and Hind(R). Information about, and links for shopping on, each of the Collective Brand's units can be found at www.collectivebrands.com.
SOURCE Payless ShoeSource