Keen wants to donate up to $20,000 to relief and recovery efforts as wildfires continue to wreak havoc on the states of Oregon, Washington and California.
The footwear and accessories chain, which is headquartered in Portland, Ore., has announced plans to contribute 1% of United States-based sales from its website, KeenFootwear.com — up to a total of $20,000 — to two organizations: the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s Wildfire Response and Recovery Fund, as well as the United Way Bay Area’s Greater Bay Area Central Coast Wildfire Relief Fund.
“As we huddle in our homes, looking out at a Martian sky and trying to block out the smell of smoke flooding through our walls, our hearts go out to all of the Western communities experiencing another massive and destructive fire season,” the company wrote in a statement posted on its website. “The fires are still burning and the need is still growing. And together is always the best way to make a bigger difference.”
As part of the charitable effort, donations to the United Way chapter in Oregon — in partnership with nonprofits in the Portland metro area and southwestern Washington — will go primarily to families of color who have been affected by the fires. With the funds, Keen aims to help provide displaced people with access to food, shelter, childcare, healthcare and other critical services.
What’s more, the endowment to the Bay Area chapter will be applied to immediate and long-term recovery assistance for residents of the Bay Area, Wine Country, Monterey County and Santa Cruz County. Keen said it would initially focus on housing, cash assistance and other immediate needs for displaced families.
The company has previously partnered with the local United Way chapters to provide support to communities that were hit hard by fires in past seasons. According to data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the fires — termed the August Complex wildfire — have spread across about 850,000 acres, making it the largest California wildfire in modern history. They were said to have originated as 38 separate fires, a result of lightning strikes from Tropical Storm Fausto on Aug. 16 and 17.
At a news conference on Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said that more than 40,000 Oregonians have already evacuated their communities and an estimated 500,000 others are under some level of evacuation orders. However, she said, “The weather system fueling these fires over the past few days has finally broken down. We anticipate cooler air and moisture coming in the next few days, which is really good news.”