Kmart Corporation is hoping to build on its reputation as as community-based department store by sponsoring an event to teach parents and kids about the dangers of drugs.
Over 300 Kmart stores across the U.S. are hosting the Kmart Kids Race Against Drugs tour throughout the fall. The national program gives children age seven to 12 a chance to cruise an Indy-style car racing circuit using safety-modified lawn tractors as racers. Kids can participate free of charge.
Kmart store parking lots will be transformed into mini-raceways for the weekend-long events. Young participants first learn to ride the tractors in a special training area, then are set loose to compete. Drivers receive an event hat and T-shirt, and those with the best race times advance to regional competitions. The winners of the national final, which is scheduled to take place in Orlando, Florida, in January, receive a US$10,000 college scholarship that matures upon the child’s eighteenth birthday.
Kmart is partnering with local drug abuse and prevention agencies, such as D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and RAD (Race Against Drugs), as well as with over 50 sponsors, including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Campbell Soup and Frito-Lay, in its event promotion.
The Race Against Drugs supports The Kmart Family Foundation, which is also donating US$5 to local drug prevention charities for each child who participates.
‘Keeping the money at the local level is important in staying community-based,’ says Debra Salem, spokesperson for Kmart Corporation. ‘This race is one of many ways that we try to develop a feeling of community through our stores.’
This is the second year Kmart has sponsored the tour. Last year, with visits to only 78 stores, the corporation raised nearly US$400,000 for local charities.