KINGSTON — Walgreens employees were seriously silly on Friday, donning red noses, wigs, beads and hats.
The employees donned the colorful outfits as part of the second annual Red Nose Day campaign, a fundraiser to fight childhood poverty. The nine-week, national campaign culminates in a live, two-hour broadcast, airing on NBC May 26.
“Some people just come in to see what we’re going to do on Fridays,” employee Rebekah Perez said. “They enjoy purchasing the items. Putting on the nose seems to brighten people’s day.”
Proceeds from the sales of the items go to a variety of organizations.
Perez said “seriously silly Fridays” makes time fly and seems to cheer customers. Employees also post pictures to social media. Those at the Kingston store mark their photos with #rednose75.
All area stores are participating in the effort, which is run by the nonprofit organization Comic Relief.
Assistant manager Jesse Bubul said the campaign has been expanded this year.
“Last year, we just had noses, and we sold out,” he said. “This year, we have a variety of red flair merchandise. Items are also available for purchase online.”
Bubul said Walgreens has encouraged the use of social media to make people aware of the opportunity to take part in the effort.
“People post mostly to Instagram, but also Facebook and Twitter,” he said.
Bill Jones, executive director of the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, already has his red nose.
“This initiative is consistent with our mission to end childhood poverty,” said Jones. “And it’s a lot of fun.”
Store Manager Jamie Miller said preschools and other organizations have come into the store to purchase multiple noses.
Joseph Shotwell, 3, of Wilkes-Barre, seemed to be enjoy the chance to clown around at the store, donning a bright red nose and a big smile.
His mother, Christal Shotwell, credited store staff with providing a great atmosphere and good spirit.
Kelly Fox, the manager of the Pittston Wallgreens store, said she and her staff also enjoy participating in the annual effort.
The Red Nose Day Fund supports several nonprofit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Children’s Health Fund, Covenant House, Feeding America, the Vaccine Alliance, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League Oxfam America, Save the Children and the Global Fund.
These organizations direct their funding toward feeding, educating and ensuring children receive needed medical services.
In the United Kingdom, Red Nose Day has raised more than $1 billion since it was launched over 25 years ago. Last year’s inaugural event in the United States raised more than $23 million.