LEXINGTON, Mass. - Sept. 3, 2014 // PRNewswire // - Stride Rite, the best place to shop for kids' shoes, wants to help families across the country find new homes for their gently worn and previously loved footwear. Stride Rite, working in concert with The Little Gym, is anticipating a donation of tens of thousands of shoes to benefit Soles4Souls, the international charity that collects shoes and distributes them to people in need around the globe. The initiative kicks off today and continues through the end of the month at Stride Rite stores (#stride4souls), through striderite.com and The Little Gym nationwide.
From Sept. 3 through Sept. 30, families can visit their local Stride Rite locations to donate outgrown or unwanted shoes in a designated Soles4Souls drop box. For every pair donated, families will receive 20 percent off towards a same-day purchase of new shoes. In addition, families will also receive a certificate for a free class at The Little Gym with every purchase of new Stride Rite shoes at participating stores situated near one of The Little Gym locations.
The Little Gym, the experiential learning and physical development center for children 4 months through 12 years old, created the "Big Hearts, Little Shoes" initiative to provide an interactive way for children to learn the value of charity and for parents and children to participate in a cause together. It is the first campaign for Soles4Souls focused on collecting children's shoes, a major need for children living in poverty around the globe.
To find the nearest Stride Rite "Big Hearts, Little Shoes" donation location visit http://www.striderite.com/en/soles-4-souls/. Stride Rite's website will also feature an animated video narrated by child actor Jonathan Morgan Heit ("Jake and the Never Land Pirates," "Bedtime Stories") that explains the campaign to children.
It is estimated that 400 million children globally live in extreme poverty (defined, as living on less than $1.25 per day). These children may not have access to adequate footwear and without shoes, many won't be able to avoid disease or go to school. Since 2006, Soles4Souls has distributed 22 million pairs of shoes to those in need in 127 countries. More than half of our distributions occur in the United States.
"We are excited to partner on a mission so close to our hearts, providing shoes to kids. We see every day how a pair of shoes helps kids build confidence, take first steps or better enable them to play. For children who grow up barefoot, a donation of a single pair of shoes can change their world," said Kiran Smith, VP of Marketing for Stride Rite. "The 'Big Hearts, Little Shoes' program provides a unique opportunity for kids to help other kids go to school or just go out and play safely."
"Stride Rite and The Little Gym are perfect partners to grow the 'Big Hearts, Little Shoes' program. Kids instinctively understand the importance of shoes and how they can make a difference to people in need," said Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles4Souls. "It really is about helping young people, both the donors and the recipients, make the world a better place."
"In its first two years, 'Big Hearts, Little Shoes' has proven to be a worthwhile opportunity to help parents introduce the value of philanthropy to their children," said Ruk Adams, President & CEO, The Little Gym International. "We are excited to see the program expand to include shoe collection locations at Stride Rite stores, as we know first-hand how the smallest of deeds can make a big impact."
The Stride Rite Children's Group, part of the Performance + Lifestyle Group of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. markets leading brands of premium children's footwear in the United States, including Stride Rite®, Saucony® Kids, Keds® Kids and Sperry Top-Sider® Kids, among others. For over 90 years, the company has designed and engineered footwear specifically to meet the needs of growing children. Through their sole commitment to "Kid-RITE" innovation, quality, health and style, Stride Rite Children's Group's mission is to be the first choice for premium authentic footwear brands that kids love and moms trust. Visit www.striderite.com to learn more.
The Little Gym is an internationally recognized program that helps children build the developmental skills and confidence needed at each stage of childhood. The very first location was established in 1976 by Robin Wes, an innovative educator and kinesiologist with a genuine love for both children and music. The Little Gym International, Inc., headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., was formed in 1992 to franchise The Little Gym concept. Today, The Little Gym International has more than 300 locations across the globe. For more information, visit The Little Gym at www.TheLittleGym.com.
Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty. The organization advances its anti-poverty mission by collecting new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributing those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities. Based in Nashville, TN, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance, and holds a four-star rating with Charity Navigator. Please visit www.soles4souls.org for more information.
SOURCE Stride Rite