United Airlines and JetBlue Airways are both initiating promotions that benefit children’s charities.
United Airlines is supporting the Happy Hearts Fund -- a non-profit foundation dedicated to rebuilding schools and restoring hope and opportunity in the lives of children after natural disasters. JetBlue Airways’ effort focuses on its in-house Soar with Reading program, a summer literacy initiative that helps place age-appropriate books in the hands of children in underserved areas.
When United Airlines customers contribute $20 or more, United will deliver a limited-edition Gund teddy bear, "Ben Flyin," to children experiencing health struggles or economic hardship in communities the airline serves worldwide. Ben Flyin, the seventh limited-edition bear in the United Adventure Bear program, aims to lift the spirits of children.
Tax-deductible donations can be made through July 31. For a $20 contribution, a child in need receives a Ben Flyin bear; for $40, both a child in need and the customer receive a Ben Flyin bear. Customers can also give any amount to support Happy Hearts Fund.
United employees and program partners will deliver the bears this fall to children at hospitals, schools and other organizations.
At JetBlue Airways, the airline is conducting its fourth Soar with Reading summer literacy initiative.
For the second year, JetBlue will work with Random House Children's Books and bestselling author Mary Pope Osborne, known for her Magic Tree House series, which features the adventures of brother-sister duo Jack and Annie.
JetBlue will donate up to $500,000 worth of Magic Tree House books, host reading events across the country and launch a new mobile app to encourage children to read more.
"Our customers and crewmembers told us that education and children are the causes most important to them,” Icema Gibbs, JetBlue's director of corporate social responsibility, says in a release. “Reading is fundamental for a good education and access to age-appropriate books is very important in building a strong foundation. We feel it is important to provide opportunities for children nationwide to have access to books in order to work towards solving this national literacy issue."
JetBlue is asking customers to guess where the storybook characters, Jack & Annie, are traveling. To place a guess, consumers can discover clues on their whereabouts in three ways -- by visiting www.SoarWithReading.com, using the new Soar with Reading mobile app, and through the inflight TV entertainment on JetBlue flights. Each guess triggers a book donation on behalf of the participant and participants can enter into a biweekly sweepstakes to win a JetBlue Getaways vacation package. Additionally, one family of four will win a grand prize JetBlue Getaways vacation.
The new Soar with Reading program Web site and a new mobile app that will launch in July will also feature activities and resources for families. The app, which will debut this summer, allows consumers to take new or existing photos from their devices and add Magic Tree House-themed frames and stickers. The app will also feature chapter samplers for six Magic Tree House books, including the newest releases. In addition, passport booklets filled with activities to encourage summer reading will be distributed at JetBlue terminals across the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean through August.
The promotion also includes a six-city nationwide tour, which kicked off May 28 in Boston. JetBlue will host five other free events in Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Washington, featuring free books, live book readings, theater performances, celebrity appearances and soccer clinics.