The annual back-to-school ritual of stocking up on school supplies and buying the latest trendy clothes is beyond the reach of many underserved youth in the U.S. H&M and Glam4Good on Tuesday will host #GetSchooled, an event at the retailer’s Chicago flagship on Michigan Avenue, where free clothing essentials and fully filled backpacks will be distributed to 250 needy five- to 17-year-olds. They may be facing challenges such as homelessness, foster care or separation from their families, or could be victims of gun violence or the children of fallen heroes.
From 9 a.m. to noon, H&M’s Chicago flagship will be closed to the public to give the students a chance to shop for free. Last year’s b-t-s period saw H&M and Glam4Good provide fashion to 200 needy kids in New York at the retailer’s Fifth Avenue flagship.
Glam4Good, which launched in 2012, has distributed more than $10 million worth of donated clothing, in excess of $2.8 million of toiletries and beauty products and more than 800,000 pairs of shoes. Mary Alice Stephenson, founder and chief executive officer of Glam4Good, said, “Fashion has this incredible ability to empower self-esteem. It costs about $120 for a child’s school supplies. That’s too costly for our recipient families. Many of our kids show up with nothing.”
An H&M spokesman said the retailer has expanded its partnership with Glam4Good to encompass four events this year.
Bloomingdale’s is also working to make school a more positive place. For its Shop for Good event, Bloomingdale’s is partnering with Kind Campaign to end girl-against-girl bullying. Bloomingdale’s stores nationwide, Tuesday though Aug. 11, will have installations and activations, and a limited-edition T-shirt collection from Girl Dangerous will feature messages such as “Kind Is Cool” and “Human Kind,” and from Kid Dangerous, “Cool to Be Kind.”
Shoppers will have the option of rounding up their purchase to the nearest dollar with a chance to receive a gift card worth $25 to $750, based on the amount they spend during the promotional period. The difference in change will directly benefit Kind Campaign’s programming: free of charge school assemblies, 19-week curriculum, and safe, judgement-free online community.
“We’ll be doing fun kitschy things like writing [affirmations] on a pledge wall,” said Frank Berman, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Kind Campaign’s founders on Aug. 10 will visit Bloomingdale’s Century City store in L.A. to talk about this difficult subject and leave people with the potential to just be better people. Kind Campaign has touched a lot of kids: 460,000 students have attended their different programs.
“In a world where there’s a mean streak out there, you need perspective and we’re trying to reinforce that,” Berman said, adding that Bloomingdale’s donation to Kind Campaign will be in the six-figure range.