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MICHAEL W. SMITH GIVES A 'HELPING HUG'

 NEW YORK, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- RCA/Reunion recording artist Michael W. Smith has teamed up with Target Stores, Hershey Chocolate USA and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) to support "Helping Hugs." Created by Target in 1991, the "Helping Hugs" program provides paramedics with plush toys that they can give to children in emergency situations. Research shows that in an emergency, something as small as a stuffed animal can make a big difference in calming a frightened child.
 Hershey made a donation to "Helping Hugs" for every Hershey Kiss product sold at Target from Feb. 7 through Feb. 14. The contributions funded the purchase of 33,000 chocolate-colored plush bears, which was distributed by Target Store employees to paramedics around the country. While paramedics have carried stuffed animals on their trucks before, "Helping Hugs" is the first cooperative effort within the NAEMT to organize the project on a widespread national basis.
 Michael W. Smith is the celebrity spokesperson for the project. He was in Nashville recently to kick off the second annual "Helping Hugs" event, delivering some furry friends to the Nashville Metro Fire Department.
 Smith's latest RCA/Reunion release "Change Your World," captured the Billboard 200's largest sale increase spot for the week of Feb. 27, with a whopping sales boost of 176 percent. Certified gold, the album is fast approaching platinum status. "Somebody Love Me" is the second single off the album. The Grammy and American Music Award winner is currently playing to sell-out crowds on his 63-city U.S. tour.
 -0- 3/5/93
 /CONTACT: Deborah Radel, 212-930-4343, or Marilyn Arthur, 213-468-4123, both of RCA Records/


CO: RCA Records; Target Stores; Hershey Chocolate USA; National
 Association of Emergency Medical Technicians ST: New York IN: ENT SU:


LS -- LA010 -- 3492 03/05/93 14:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 5, 1993
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