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Red Nose Day helps local Walgreens fight children’s poverty

May 24, 2019

Columbus’ Walgreens is participating in the national Red Nose Day campaign to help raise awareness for various issues relating to children’s welfare.

The campaign was brought to the United States from Great Britain in 2015 with assistance from various sponsors, including Walgreens. The program allows people to purchase special red foam noses for $2, with proceeds being donated to various children’s charities. Many of those charities deal with poverty, and this year’s theme, “Everyday Heroes”, emphasizes the many needs that poor and impoverished have.

“When we think of a hero, we think of somebody who wears a cape or a badge,” said Seth Limbach, the assistant store manager at the Columbus Walgreens. “What we’re trying to say to children living in poverty (is that) an everyday hero can be somebody who takes time out of their day to donate a dollar, or to be part of an organization that’s geared towards children to have fun with (them). You can be an everyday hero by not wearing a cape, by not wearing a badge, but by doing something outside of what you would normally do.”

The campaign usually runs for more than a month and a half. Shoppers can buy a red nose or a bracelet for $2, or they can give money at the cash register in varying amounts. Store manager Tim Kimberling said that donations were slow at the start of this years campaign but that there was a logical reason.

“This year, with the flooding, it’s started out a little slower, but it’s picked up a little bit,” Kimberling said. “It’s still been a very viable donation place where people do that every day here. We haven’t had any days that we have not had any donations.”

Limbach said that the spring flooding made children’s poverty an even more pressing issue for local residents.

“We have seen a spike in our people willing to do things here at the Columbus level,” Limbach said. “We’re a great community, we came together for the flood, which was a huge disaster, but then we can turn around and do something great where we donate money towards Red Nose Day and help children that need it, as well.”

This year, different noses are being sold alongside the tradition clown-type red nose. Four separate themed noses are being sold, which correspond to a different issue facing needy children. Rusty gives school supplies, Scarlet provides meals for the hungry, Rojo provides medicine and Ruby provides a safe home for families.

Those purchasing the noses have the option to have them recycled at the store and then melted down into benches that will be placed in local communities.

“We’re trying to keep them out of landfills and we’ve partnered with a couple of different groups that will take the product and make ‘Buddy Benches’ for different schools throughout the United States,” Limbach said. “They want to make sure there is a place on playgrounds that offers a safe place for children to meet new children and make sure that all the kids are getting along and being safe.”

Both Kimberling and Limbach are looking for people to embrace the role of “Everyday Heroes” and put what they can toward diminishing childhood poverty.

“There’s a lot of children out there that are needy,” Kimberling said. “Especially after going through what we just went through, there is a lot of poverty for children that we need to address and this is our way of taking care of that. People will donate (after) seeing that.”

“I just want people to know that they can make the difference,” Limbach added. “They can be the everyday hero without putting on a cape or wearing a badge. They can go to work and be an everyday hero and make a difference in people’s lives by donating a dollar or by spending quality time with children who need adults in their lives. People can be more than what they are.”

Zach Roth is a reporter for the Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at zach.roth@lee.net

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