Children of All Ages Come Together to Aid Japan


ATLANTA (PRNewswire) — Children’s apparel retailer OshKosh B’Gosh and its parent company, Carter’s Inc., announced May 25 that it has received more than 2 million origami cranes in response to its Cranes for Kids initiative and that it will donate $1.5 million worth of clothing to the children of Japan.

Cranes for Kids was created to help parents educate children about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and provide clothing to children affected by the disasters. The initiative was inspired by an ancient Japanese legend promising that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish.

OshKosh B’Gosh initially pledged to donate an article of clothing for each origami crane it received, up to 50,000 garments. Due to the overwhelming response, the retailer announced it would increase this contribution to 80,000 articles of clothing.

“We are amazed by the response to Cranes for Kids,” said Michael D. Casey, chairman and CEO of Carter’s Inc. “We are humbled by the way people have come together to do good for others. This program has shown us the power of the human spirit and the compassion we all feel for each other, no matter the distance. We’re happy that the strength of our iconic OshKosh B’Gosh brand worldwide has helped rally people to participate.”

The program was first announced March 29 on the OshKosh B’Gosh Facebook page and website, where initial posts of encouragement multiplied quickly as messages, pictures, videos and cranes sent from individuals, schools, organizations and companies around the world poured in.

Below are some representative posts to the Facebook page:

“1,000 cranes sent to me from my mother’s group of friends at her Japanese club in Canada. The women who made these for the children are all in their 80s.”

“The students of the Pope John Paul II Elementary School are proud to send 3,578 cranes to the Cranes for Kids drive.”

“35 cranes from our family in Guadalajara, Mexico.”

“Prayers, love and 27 cranes from Provo, UT.”

It is the heartfelt, genuine emotion behind each crane submission that has been most powerful. In New York City, a mom rallied her daughter’s school to participate and the children were so excited that they gave up their recess over the course of several weeks to make 7,000 cranes.

In Baltimore, children of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Lower School exceeded their original goal of folding 1,000 cranes by creating more than 6,000 as a symbol of their wishes for the safety and comfort of the people of Japan.

In Michigan, the fifth grade class at Bellaire Elementary in Antrim County was inspired to make 1,000 paper cranes for Cranes for Kids after reading the book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.”

More than 2,000,000 cranes and well-wishes came from near and far, including Paraguay, Sudan, Australia, Ukraine and South Korea, among others.

The first 50,000 articles of clothing have been shipped to Japan and will be distributed to evacuation centers by Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) partner organization, Operation Compassion. The remaining 30,000 items will be sent later this summer.

“Children and families have lost everything in the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, so providing them with a new outfit means the world to them,” said Dr. Janice Weinman, president of K.I.D.S. “As we mobilize our global network of resources to aid in this massive relief effort, the generous support of companies like OshKosh B’Gosh will ensure that we are able to provide essential clothing that children and families need in order to begin rebuilding their lives.”

The origami cranes collected are being shipped to Japan, where they will be displayed in OshKosh B’Gosh stores throughout the country beginning in June.

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