Two Ten Footwear Foundation is embarking on its biggest relief effort to date with increased outreach and support initiatives for those impacted by the Coronavirus crisis.
According to newly named President Shawn Osborne, visitors to the Two Ten website quadrupled from Monday through Thursday this week, compared with an average four-day period. In addition, the number of online aid applications jumped 230%.
The need is national, Osborne said, in contrast to the region-specific natural disasters that Two Ten often responds to. “We are used to dealing with those. This is the first time we have encountered a [situation] where it affects everyone,” said Osborne.
While the industry has been hard hit across all sectors, the majority of calls for assistance are coming from retail and warehouse workers. “Seventy percent of calls are from females and the majority are single moms,” said Osborne. “They’re concerned with child care, food and rent. They don’t know if they’re going to have a job.”
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There are three ways to apply for aid: online, via email or through a hotline. “Our intake specialists have said that many individuals are simply glad to have a live person on the other end to talk to,” said Osborne. “You end up being a counselor,” noting response time to calls is within 48 hours.
In order to step up aid in a timely manner, Two Ten has also launched COVID-19 “Share Your Shoes” Campaign, an industry-wide effort. It calls upon footwear brands and businesses to actively contribute during what is expected to be an unprecedented time of hardship for the U.S. footwear business, according to Two Ten. Wolverine World Wide is helping the group kick off the effort.
The groups will take in all excess inventory, regardless of gender and wear, and convert the product into cash to immediately redistribute it to industry members. Two Ten’s logistics partner will pick up inventory from anywhere in the U.S. at no cost to the donating company. Even samples and single pairs can be donated.
“We’re here for everybody, and the team is working around the clock,” said Osborne. “We’re turning around calls, getting grants out the door and finding creative ways to help raise cash.”
While Two Ten has temporarily suspended its Footwear Cares volunteer program, Osborne emphasized that individuals and companies are encouraged to continue to make monetary donations. The group will also work to unveil new volunteer opportunities in the coming weeks.
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