HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. // PRNewswire-FirstCall // -- Kmart is once again teaming up with the March of Dimes? to raise funds to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. This is the 27th year that Kmart will be partnering with the March of Dimes and their 18th year as a national sponsor of the March for Babies? walk.
"Our long-standing partnership with Kmart has helped to improve infant survival and health in the U.S.," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "In the time that Kmart has supported the March of Dimes, the rate of infant death has declined dramatically. The dedication and generosity of Kmart's associates and customers has helped us to support the needs of families across the country."
Kmart, the March of Dimes longest standing corporate supporter and largest contributor to its mission, has raised $79 million on behalf of the organization over the past 26 years. In 2009, Kmart associates raised a record $8.3 million through donations from customers as well as friends and family to benefit the four million babies born each year in this country.
"The annual March of Dimes drive has a special place in our hearts here at Kmart," said Bruce Johnson, interim chief executive officer and president for Sears Holdings. "Premature births affect both our customers and employees. Many employees in our Kmart family have personally dealt with a premature birth in their own families, so it means a lot to everyone at Kmart to be able to make a difference in the lives of families across the country and give their babies a chance for healthy lives."
Kmart hopes to set a new fundraising record this year as it passes the $80 million milestone and help even more families. Kmart customers can help the March of Dimes improve the health of babies by making a donation of $1, $5 or $10 at any store cash register through May 31. Funds raised through Kmart stores support the complete range of March of Dimes efforts for mothers and babies, including:
March for Babies, the nation's oldest and best-loved annual walking event, will take place this spring in more than 900 communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Support for March for Babies is part of Kmart for Kids(SM), the umbrella program for Kmart's philanthropic initiatives, which focuses on improving children's health and wellness.
"The dedication of Kmart associates to rally around our March of Dimes efforts extends both in stores and in the communities where we work and live," said Johnson. "I'm proud to share that last year more than 1,750 Kmart associates walked in marches across the country. Their personal commitments to giving babies in our country the greatest gift of all - a healthy life - is incredible."
Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq: SHLD), is a mass merchandising company that offers customers quality products through a portfolio of exclusive brands that include Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer, County Living and Route 66.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.