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Footwear Firms Give Back

Stride Rite helps kids, Eneslow collects for Soles4Souls.

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Stride Rite Children’s Group is helping kids get healthy.

The Lexington, Mass.-based company yesterday donated 400 pairs of sneakers to New York state schoolchildren, winners of the “Healthy Steps to Albany” challenge. Created by New York state’s first lady, Michelle Paige Paterson, the initiative aims to combat childhood obesity by encouraging kids to get active through a six-week fitness competition.

Stride Rite’s donation was facilitated by New York-based Kids In Distressed Situations, a nonprofit organization that collects new clothes, shoes, books, toys and baby gear from manufacturers and retailers and distributes them to children in need around the world.

“Stride Rite has been a longtime partner of K.I.D.S. in meeting the needs of children who lack appropriate shoes,” Janice Weinman, president of K.I.D.S., said in a statement. “In 2008 alone, Stride Rite donated 40,000 pairs of shoes to our national network of community agencies.”

Pam Salkovitz, president of Stride Rite Children’s Group, said that creating footwear to support and enhance kids’ active lifestyles is a key part of the company’s mission. “We believe in providing children with great-fitting, quality footwear that supplies the proper support they need for their everyday activities,” Salkovitz said.

In honor of her work to improve children’s health, the first lady will be honored at K.I.D.S.’ annual Women in Industry luncheon on June 2 in New York. Ugg Australia President Connie Rishwain also will be recognized.

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