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Walgreens gets Red Nose Day under way

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Red Nose Day is back on again at Walgreens.

The drug chain said Monday that it’s once again the exclusive retail partner of the second annual Red Nose Day in the United States, helping to raise funds to fight poverty among children. To that end, the campaign’s iconic Red Noses — which people wear in support of the official Red Nose Day on May 26 — have returned to shelves at Walgreens and Duane Reade stores nationwide, kicking off the nine-week charitable campaign.

Started in the United Kingdom, Red Nose Day brings people together to do something funny to raise money for charity. Inaugurating the campaign in the U.S. last year, Walgreens raises money for the Red Nose Day Fund, which supports nonprofit organizations that help lift children and young people out of poverty here and overseas.

This year, Walgreens said it’s “going beyond the nose” to raise funds through the sale of new Red Flair merchandise, ranging from red hats and springy novelty headbands to oversized sequin bowties and Red Noses for cars. The items are now available in stores nationwide and offer Americans more ways to “Get Seriously Silly” in support of the Red Nose Day cause.

“Helping people live happy and healthy lives is our passion at Walgreens, and participating in Red Nose Day lets us do just that for those who need it most: kids living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad,” Walgreens president Alex Gourlay said in a statement. “Topping last year’s success is a challenge we’re ready for. We have more Red Noses, new Red Flair and several other fun ways for everyone in the Walgreens family — from our valued customers and vendor partners to our passionate team members — to get involved in this powerful campaign.”

Now through June 4, Walgreens and Duane Reade stores will sell Red Noses for $1 each and Red Flair items for between $1.00 to $5.99. Proceeds from Red Nose and Red Flair purchases benefit the Red Nose Day Fund, which supports such charities as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; charity:water; Children’s Health Fund; Covenant House; Feeding America; Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; National Council of La Raza; National Urban League; Oxfam America; Save the Children; and The Global Fund. Cash donations can also be made at any Walgreens location. Last year, Walgreens sold 5 million Red Noses.

Helping to launch the 2016 Red Nose Day effort is actor and comedian Ravi Patel, who helped deliver the first batch of Red Noses and Red Flair to Walgreens store shelves in Chicago. Accompanied by Walgreens staff, Patel arrived at a Walgreens flagship store in a Red Nose Day-adorned armored truck and a briefcase full of Red Noses and Red Flair.

Patel also is going on social media to encourage participation with weekly #RedNose challenges, including silly videos and photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The #RedNose challenge videos will be featured as part of a new Walgreens “50 States, 50 Stories” video series on Walgreens.com/RedNoseDay, which will show people supporting and benefitting from Red Nose Day.

This year, the Red Nose Day’ campaign will culminate in a live, two-hour broadcast on NBC that will air on May 26 (9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET). The Red Nose Day Special will feature popular comedians, top musicians and Hollywood stars in a mix of comedy, live musical performances and short films shedding light on the cause.

In the United Kingdom, Red Nose Day has raised more than $1 billion since it launched over 25 years ago. The inaugural Red Nose Day event in the United States last May raised more than $23 million.


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