As California Fires Rage, Two Ten Footwear Charity Offers Aid to Industry Members

The California wildfires show no sign of letting up as record winds continue to fuel the flames.

As the situation unfolds, Two Ten Footwear Foundation said today that it stands ready to aid those experiencing fire-related challenges.

The shoe industry charity said it has already sent email blasts to all footwear employees in its database who live in the areas affected by the fires, reminding them of the resources the organization can offer, said Terri Rawson, chief marketing and development officer.

“We have also sent out email blasts to all industry HR professionals, including links directly to the Two Ten website, so they can push out information through their own company communication channels,” she noted. “Industry associations have also received notifications from us to include in their own member outreach efforts, and our website features a message and link that pop up immediately upon landing on the home page.”

At work and Western brand Ariat, in Union City, Calif., the company reported that while its headquarters and warehouse in nearby Hayward have not been affected, it was closely monitoring any changes and prepared and ready to service its customers across the country.

Since homes across the Bay area have been affected, either by outages, air quality or the fires themselves, Ariat noted some of its employees had experienced power disruptions.

Early this week, Kfir Matalon, co-founder of Jerusalem Sandals, based in Van Nuys, Calif., told FN the Getty fire was raging about eight miles from the company, placing its facilities just northeast of the blaze. Most of the ramps on Interstate 405 were closed on Monday, he said, and there were also plans to completely close U.S. Highway Route 101 to Sunset Boulevard. “All our employees are coming from the north, so we’re not affected and we will open today,” he said.

Regarding shipping products, Matalon said it was too early to tell if UPS and FedEx will show up. “I live in Sherman Oaks, so we [and] our employees didn’t need to evacuate yet, but we are ready if needed.”

Skechers, located in Manhattan Beach, Calif., reported that its offices and distribution center were well out of reach of the fire. According to the company, while some employees were forced to evacuate their homes yesterday and were unable to make it into the office, others were able to work remotely.

At Seychelles and BC Footwear, President Sari Ratsula, said the company’s employees have not been impacted. “Our headquarters are in El Segundo, and most of us live south of downtown Los Angeles,” she said. “While our families are all well, it breaks our hearts to see the fires spreading and people fighting for their lives and homes.”

On a personal note, Ratsula said her family went through an evacuation process in 2017 during the Orange County canyon fires. “I was traveling to New York for the FFANY Shoes on Sale event at that time and was pretty much on pins and needles for two days. All ended up being well, especially after a major cleanup in the area.”

David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas in Novato, Calif., reported that yesterday numerous employees were under mandatory evacuation. Although he said there was no power in Marin County, “luckily we have a generator at our headquarters, so it’s business as usual, but very scary in the area. People are here and safe, but very scary all over the area.”

Rawson today said Two Ten will also increase social services staffing hours to accommodate the time difference between its offices and the West Coast. It’s prepared to provide expedited assistance for industry employees needing immediate emergency financial aid to cover housing and basic necessities.

“We anticipate a significant increase in call volume after the fires have subsided and footwear families are able to return to their homes to better assess their needs,” she added.

Two Ten has posted housing accommodation resources for footwear families, along with other sources who can offer additional emergency assistance. For those requiring assistance, contact, Two Ten at socialservices@twoten.org, call 800.346.3210, or visit Twoten.org.

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