Submitted by Genesco Inc.
As another New England winter approaches,
lack of properly fitting, warm shoes will be one of the biggest concerns
facing Boston's needy. Foot problems caused by ill fitting or badly worn
shoes are the number one ailment of the homeless population, according to
public health officials. This statistic, plus the fact that walking is the
primary means of transportation for the needy, can be a dangerous, even
To help address this situation, leading national footwear marketer Genesco
Inc. (NYSE: GCO), is launching its national Cold Feet, Warm Shoes program in
Boston on November 10, 2000, from 9 a.m. until noon, at Pine Street Inn, New
England's leading resource for homeless men and women. The Nashville-based
footwear company is teaming up with New England's Timberland Company
(NYSE: TBL) to provide new or like-new shoes, and socks for guests served by
Pine Street Inn, many of them veterans.
"Our Cold Feet, Warm Shoes program has a rich history of helping the needy
in the Middle Tennessee area," said Genesco Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer Ben T. Harris, himself a Vietnam veteran. "We decided it was time to
take this great initiative on the road. What better company to collaborate
with than Timberland, nationally recognized for its community service
programs, and what better time than Veterans Day weekend, given that two out
of every five homeless persons are veterans. We hope this is just the
beginning of a national endeavor."
Unlike typical donations of goods and services to the needy, Genesco's
Cold Feet, Warm Shoes program provides recipients with professional fitting,
individual attention and choice of footwear -- services they rarely receive.
Genesco will create a mini shoe store at Pine Street Inn, complete with a
seated fitting area, stock room and personal service. Harris will join other
Genesco and Timberland managers and employees to measure each individual's
feet and offer choice of footwear, whether it is a casual selection, athletic
shoe or a work boot.
Harris added, "We came to Boston with the goal of fitting 100 to 150
people at one organization, but we were so impressed with Boston's outstanding
social service network that we decided to help several organizations. Being a
Vietnam veteran myself, helping fellow veterans is especially important to me.
I hope that those who will be marching in the Veterans Day parade, celebrating
the sacrifices and commitment they have made to our country, will be able to
march in a pair of new, well-fitting shoes."
Shoes will come from Timberland and Genesco's operating divisions,
including Johnston & Murphy, Dockers Footwear and Nautica Footwear, as well as
Genesco's retail network operating under the names Journeys, Johnston & Murphy
"In addition to providing a good pair of shoes, we aim to restore a little
dignity," said Harris. "We want to empower these individuals with a choice
and support these folks as they work to get back on their feet."
"We provide guests the same quality service we would to our customers at
our footwear retail stores, whether it be at the Johnston & Murphy store on
Newbury Street or our newly opened Journeys store in Saugus at the Square One
Mall," added Harris, who himself will be actively fitting recipients at the
event. "Owning several pairs of shoes is something many of us take for
granted, but for the needy, one good pair is a blessing. Genesco and
Timberland are in the business of selling quality footwear, and this program
is one way for both companies to share our successes with people who are
trying to take that next step in their lives."
This is the first time Genesco has formally collaborated with another
company for its Cold Feet, Warm Shoes program and cites Timberland as an
excellent choice because of its nationally recognized community service and
"We are pleased to be part of this innovative event, helping provide
footwear to people in our own community who need it," said Jeffrey Swartz,
president and chief executive officer of Stratham, N.H.-based Timberland. "It
is an important initiative, made even more compelling by the fact that we're
partnering with our long-time partner City Year who works hard every day to
find ways to create better communities."
City Year, a national service program that brings together young people
from diverse backgrounds for a year of full-time community service, has been
sponsored by Timberland since its inception. City Year will provide
volunteers at the fitting. The Whole Foods Company will be providing food and
beverages for clients and volunteers at the event, an opportunity that grew
out of Whole Foods and Timberland's mutual relationship with Share Our
Strength, an anti-poverty and anti-hunger organization.
"At the same time that many in this region are enjoying great prosperity,
many others are truly struggling. The annual city of Boston homeless census,
held every December, shows a 50% increase in homelessness since 1988,"
explained Pine Street Inn President Lyndia Downie. "We extend our heartfelt
appreciation to Genesco and Timberland for this generous contribution. Dozens
of guests in our emergency shelters and job training programs will benefit
from Cold Feet, Warm Shoes."
Genesco (NYSE: GCO), based in Nashville, sells footwear and accessories in
more than 765 retail stores in the U.S., principally under the names Journeys,
Johnston & Murphy and Jarman, and on internet websites http://www.journeys.com and
http://www.johnstonmurphy.com. The Company also sells footwear at wholesale under
its Johnston & Murphy brand and under the licensed Dockers and Nautica brands.
Additional information on Genesco and its operating divisions may be accessed
at its website http://www.genesco.com.
The Timberland Company (NYSE: TBL) designs, engineers, and markets
premium-quality footwear, apparel, and accessories for consumers who value the
outdoors and their time in it. Timberland(R) products offer quality
workmanship and detailing and are built to withstand the elements of nature.
Timberland is headquartered in Stratham, N.H.
Pine Street Inn, a Boston non-profit organization, provides street
outreach, shelter, health care, job training and housing to 1,300 men and
women every day. Founded in 1969, the Inn is New England's leading resource
for homeless men and women. More information about volunteer opportunities,
Pine Street's programs and ways to support the Inn can be found online at
More from Genesco Inc.