Storm donations give Lee fundraiser run for money

KANSAS CITY, MO: With Americans focused on contributing money to assist victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, organizers of Lee National Denim Day were struggling this week to reach their goal of raising $10 million on the 10th anniversary of the event.

KANSAS CITY, MO: With Americans focused on contributing money to assist victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, organizers of Lee National Denim Day were struggling this week to reach their goal of raising $10 million on the 10th anniversary of the event.

Lee Jeans and its AOR for the campaign, Barkley Evergreen & Partners PR of Kansas City, succeeded in boosting the number of companies participating this year. But a fewer number of employees within each company were contributing money, said Kathy Collins, Lee's VP of marketing and communications.

"We're just a little behind last year, but we hope it will pick up in the last week," Collins said.

Odds of meeting the $10 million goal received a boost when Parade magazine published a story in its October 2 issue about the campaign. Almost 200 companies signed up to participate after the Parade article appeared, compared with only 30 on the Sunday before last year's event, she said.

"There was a bit of a slowdown due to the hurricanes and a lot of the giving going on in that direction, which is critically important right now," Barkley Evergreen president Mike Swenson said. "But it is heartening to see that we are on track because people believe they have to support lots of causes."

The effort encourages employees to pay $5 to be allowed to wear blue jeans on a designated Friday. Companies collect the money from their employees and send it directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The program raised $52 million for the Komen foundation during its first nine years.

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