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Kobie Marketing Gives Back to Pinellas County Kids

Fundraising campaign directly benefits local school children

St. Petersburg, FL (August 25, 2011) – Kobie Marketing, a recognized leader in loyalty marketing, and Clothes To Kids (CTK), a non-profit organization that provides new and quality, used clothing to low-income, school-aged children, today announced the results of their spring campaign in Pinellas County.

During a month long challenge, the staff of St. Petersburg-based Kobie created a spirited competition among employees to help the local CTK cause. Kobie donated more than 1,400 pieces of clothing with an additional $1,550 in cash contributions.

“We promised to turn our attention within 2011 to charitable causes we can support in a collaborative, sometimes competitive, and always meaningful way,” notes Kobie President Michael Hemsey, “and we had fun with this, as always, while helping to make a difference in the larger community where we live and work.”

The kids that “shop” at CTK are school-aged, K-12, from families in financial distress. A referral is required and the free or reduced price lunch letter is most commonly used. There are 52,000 kids on the free or reduced lunch program in Pinellas County – all are eligible to shop at CTK. Referrals from other agencies or places of worship are welcome. Each store is “cheerful,” and has a department store feel. The idea is that clients “shop” for a week’s worth of school clothing (a CTK wardrobe) without worrying about the financial burdens of their day-to-day lives, and their experience feels like retail shopping, but with one major difference — the wardrobes are given to the kids free of charge.

Fran Goodwin, Development Director for Clothes To Kids, gratefully acknowledged the contributions of Kobie Marketing in a heartfelt letter of thanks delivered to all employees. Fran professed:

“I have been involved with CTK since we opened in 2003 and I am here to tell you that the employees at Kobie Marketing are OUTSTANDING! Are you sure there are only 60 of you over there?! Do you realize how many children’s lives you are going to change? First, the $1,550.00 will provide a complete week’s worth of school clothing for 31 students! The clothing that was donated was beautiful. And remember, each child is leaving our store with a big smile on their face, feeling good about themselves and thinking about what outfit they are going to wear to school. Thank you for that.”

To kick-off the campaign, Hemsey shared a presentation with the Kobie teams from a foster child that despite being a star student and volunteer for other less fortunate kids, was constantly and brutally teased at school for having only one outfit he wore to school day-in and day-out. The $50 that it takes to support one child let this young man select 5 outfits that he can mix and match to rotate throughout the week. The child, through tears, expressed how that one small change in his life made a world of difference in his self-image, others’ attitudes toward him, and his engagement in his education and life in general.

Selena McLaughlin, Human Resources Manager and Kobie’s internal coordinator for the CTK campaign, recalled, “the kick-off presentation got us all going. We split the company up into three teams and turned it into a competition. The team captains motivated their groups to bring bags and bags of clothes and money, beyond everyone’s expectations.”

Carole Bolden, Program Director for the CTK St. Petersburg store applauded the efforts of Kobie. “We are sincerely thankful,” Carol said, “to those who believe in our mission and who have made an investment in the lives of children in our community. Kobie’s contribution will help us deliver a priceless gift of self-esteem to school children in Pinellas County.”

Ms. Bolden noted that CTK is dedicated to remaining focused on providing free of charge, a week’s wardrobe to low-income, school aged children who qualify throughout the county. “We remain committed to instilling a sense of dignity, pride and self esteem,” added Bolden, “in every child who visits our store – not only through the clothes they receive, but through their entire shopping experience.”

About Kobie Marketing

For over 20 years, Kobie has been a recognized leader in the loyalty marketing industry. Through award-winning loyalty marketing campaigns and continuous reinvention of how firms execute effective programs, Kobie’s clients enjoy incremental revenue, product and household penetration, and brand advocacy.

Today, Kobie Marketing leads the loyalty marketing industry with a relentless focus on delivering the best customer experience, through proprietary technologies and award-winning campaigns. Kobie Marketing is spearheading the mobile loyalty revolution with its Social Media, SMS, MMS and Mobile Application loyalty solutions. Kobie manages loyalty management programs for many of the world’s most successful brands: AMC Entertainment, Bank of America, Barnes & Noble, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Comcast Corporation, Hawaiian Airlines, Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon Communications. Visit Kobie at www.kobie.com.

About Clothes To Kids

The mission of Clothes To Kids is to provide new and quality, used clothing to low-income, school aged children in Pinellas County, free of charge. Clothes To Kids envisions a community in which every student, grades K-12, has quality clothing so that he or she may attend school with the confidence and self-esteem needed to achieve academic success. Clothes To Kids is a (c) 3 not for profit organization. Volunteers, contributions and support are welcome at www.clothestokids.org.