The Shoe Industry Prepares to Offer Aid to Hurricane Dorian Victims

Hurricane Dorian has left record devastation across the Bahamas and is now making its way to the U.S.

With relief efforts underway, footwear organizations including Soles4Souls and Two Ten Footwear Foundation are joining the initiative with offerings of footwear, apparel, as well as financial assistance and counseling domestically and abroad.

At Soles4Souls, Jamie Ellis, director of marketing and communications, said typically, when it comes to disaster relief, the organization allows first responders to assess immediate needs such as food and water first.

“For right now, we have partners in the Bahamas that we’re starting to talk to about [their] needs,” she said. “The priority is making sure people have food, water and things like that and letting those organizations get in. Once they’re ready, we’ll be ready to go with new shoes and clothes to help people start moving forward.”

Ellis noted the group works with a mix of partners from orphanages to pure disaster relief groups, depending on where the need is. “We’ve already gotten a commitment from DSW to use some of their shoes for our disaster relief efforts,” said Ellis. “They donated 100,000 pairs to us earlier in the summer and we’re going to be able to use some of those to help the people in the path of Dorian.”

Soles4Souls is accepting donations of excess inventory of new shoes and clothing by contacting Pattie Graben at pattieg@soles4souls.org.

At Two Ten Footwear Foundation, Terri Rawson, chief marketing and development officer, said it started sending out disaster relief emails last Thursday to industry employees in its database who are located within the areas initially identified in the path of Hurricane Dorian. “We’re also utilizing social media to broaden our reach, especially as the storm continues to shift direction, and are reaching out to industry leaders and HR professionals to remind them to contact Two Ten with any known or possible impact on their teams.  We’ll continue to push out digital communications throughout the storm and in the days and weeks following.”

In addition, its social services team is ready to respond immediately to industry employees affected by the hurricane, with emergency financial assistance, counseling and referral services. Employees can easily apply for assistance at TwoTen.org or contact the organization at 800-346-3210 or socialservices@twoten.org.

For those interested in donating to the crisis fund, visit Two Ten’s website and click on the donate link to contribute. “Every dollar makes a difference, and we are very thankful for the help,” said Rawson.

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