By late March, retailers including Neiman Marcus, JOANN, Ralph Lauren, LVMH, Canada Goose and Gap, among many others, had begun taking steps to combat COVID-19 by manufacturing their own masks, gloves, scrubs and even hand sanitizer. In the weeks since, more retailers have been stepping up to the plate to give back both to health care professionals and their communities, as well as others affected by COVID-19.
Within health care, retailers are still going above and beyond. For example, Nordstrom is teaming up with manufacturing factory Kaas Tailored to have its alterations teams in Washington, Oregon, Texas and California sew more than 100,000 masks. Once made, these masks will be sanitized and donated to Providence Health & Services. Kaas Tailored is currently embarking on a 100 Million Mask Challenge to reach that goal and fill the worldwide need for PPE masks.
Under Armour is taking a similar route to support its local health care systems. The athleticwear retailer has begun to manufacture and assemble face masks, face shields and specially equipped fanny packs for the 28,000 health care providers and staff at the University of Maryland Medical System. The brand also will begin providing face masks to LifeBridge, a regional health care organization based in Baltimore. Additionally, Under Armour is currently discussing supply needs with Johns Hopkins Medicine, MedStar and other local medical institutions.
Reformation is partnering with the City of Los Angeles and Kaiser Permanente to establish LA Protects, which has a goal of manufacturing 5 million non-medical masks for people who need protection, including grocery store workers, non-medical staff in hospitals and others providing essential services during the COVID-19 crisis. The retailer also is selling masks on its site, and shoppers can opt to purchase masks to donate.
Retail Donations Vary From Meals To Cleaning Products And More
In an effort to give shoppers access to the cleaning supplies that can help protect them from coronavirus, The Body Shop will be donating 30,000 units of cleansing products. These soaps and washes will go to local shelters and senior communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the company has provided all North American employees with hand washing products to take home to protect themselves and their families.
Stop & Shop is donating 5,000 meals each day to health care workers and first responders in six hospitals across Boston and New York City, in addition to contributing $500,000 to support research on a COVID-19 vaccine. The $500,000 will go to the Precision Vaccine Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard University Medical School. In total, Stop & Shop parent Ahold Delhaize USA has donated $10 million across its retail banners for initiatives addressing critical needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online pet products retailer Chewy is partnering with GreaterGood.org to donate more than $1.7 million to animal welfare organizations severely affected by the economic impact of the virus, for pet food, healthcare supplies and other essential products.
Dutch Bros Coffee, which operates in seven western states across 380 locations, is donating all profits from the month of April to #FirstRespondersFirst, which provides essential supplies and equipment to protect frontline healthcare workers and their patients. Its philanthropic arm, the Dutch Bros Foundation, already has dedicated an additional $1 million to help those impacted by the pandemic.
Staples has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to collect personal protective care equipment or donations to help local member hospitals fund their greatest needs. Donations of new, unused, unopened personal protective equipment such as N95 respirator face masks, disposable face masks, face shields, protective eyewear, isolation or surgical gowns can be dropped off at participating Staples
Footwear Brands Implement ‘Buy One, Gift One’ Programs
Since March 24, Allbirds has donated $500,000 worth of Wool Runner shoes to health care professionals due to its “Better Together” campaign. Shoppers that buy a pair of shoes can opt to donate a pair to healthcare workers upon making a purchase. The digital native even includes donation bundle options to give discounted prices to shoppers who donate.
On a similar note in the footwear front, performance sock brand Feetures and footwear retailer Fleet Feet are donating up to 20,000 pairs of free socks to medical professionals in select regions throughout the U.S. Through the Buy One, Gift One program, customers can place Feetures sock orders for curbside pick-up at their local Fleet Feet store, and Feetures will match their purchase with a donation to medical professionals in select regions.
Local Brands Make Full-Scale Impact
Retailers don’t necessarily have to be national brands to make an impact on a large scale. New York City-based Dough Doughnuts is providing free individually packaged treats by the box to hospitals and health care workers in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut Tri-State area, launching Frontline Sweet Support where shoppers can buy “support donuts” for select hospital locations within area.
Additionally, an Oakland, Calif.-based boutique, Nathan & Co, is donating 10,000 medical-grade masks to neighboring Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. The masks are being shipped from Hong Kong and are scheduled to arrive on April 15.
U-Lace, an online seller of no-tie shoelaces, launched a social media campaign designed to lift the spirits of shoppers by sharing positive messaging on its shoelaces such as “Stay Calm” and “Just Smile.” The company plans to auction off most of the sneakers bearing the messages from the inspirational campaign, with proceeds used to support frontline medical responders such as doctors and nurses.