As Australia continues to be devastated by deadly bushfires, many footwear companies with ties to the country are pitching in with fundraising efforts.
Nearly 20 million acres have been burned throughout the country since the fire season began; at least 25 people have died and entire towns have been evacuated. More than 1 billion animals, from koalas and kangaroos to several endangered species, are feared dead across the fire zone, over 800,000 of them in New South Wales. With the country still in the grips of a record heat wave and Australian summer not yet at its peak, the damage is also far from over — particularly, experts say, because climate change exacerbates the fires’ worst effects.
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Here’s how 12 footwear brands and retailers are contributing funds and raising awareness.
Coach Foundation is making a $100,000 gift (AU$145,000) to the Australian Red Cross through the foundation’s fund at CAF America for relief and recovery efforts that support people affected by the country’s bushfire crisis. Additionally, the luxury brand will match employee contributions to the Australian Red Cross or to a qualified relief organization of one’s choice through the Coach and Kate Spade New York foundations.
“Our hearts go out to the countless number of people affected by the bushfires,” said parent company Tapestry’s CEO and chairman, Jide Zeitlin. “While what has been lost cannot be replaced, we want to help the affected communities repair and rebuild in the wake of this disaster.”
The Australian shoe label posted on Instagram about its donation to WIRES Wildlife Rescue and directed followers to organizations including Animals Australia, The Salvation Army Australia and NSW Rural Fire Service.
The buy-now-pay-later service, based in Melbourne, Australia, has pledged AU$200,000 ($137,000) to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund on behalf of its employees and has set up a donation page for customers. The company has also contacted its 42,500 retail partners to encourage them to promote donations, which support emergency response efforts, volunteer training and more, and it said Steve Madden and others have been eager to help. “We know that when a disaster happens, especially on our doorstep, Australians have an incredible ability to band together to help one another,” said Afterpay CEO Anthony Eisen in a statement. “Our thoughts go out to all the families and individuals that have lost their homes or local businesses, as well as all the firefighters and volunteers working around the clock.”
The podiatrist-designed brand said on Instagram that it donated $15,000 to the Salvation Army “to support the amazing work they are doing on the ground.”
Boot brand Blundstone — whose manufacturing and warehousing facilities and its headquarters are located in the Australian cities of Hobart and Melbourne — has donated nearly $70,000 worth of boots for volunteer firefighters, as well as financial support to those displaced by the bushfires.
On Tuesday, the outdoor footwear brand announced a $25,000 donation to WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue.
The homegrown chain said that it donated $100,000 to the Red Cross relief fund and encouraged followers to support the cause.
Sydney-based Senso is offering shoppers the chance to win a AU$1,000 ($687) voucher by purchasing AU$20 charity raffle tickets; all proceeds will go toward helping those affected by the fires.
Spell & The Gypsy Collective
The boho Byron Bay brand has taken a multipronged approach to its charitable efforts, donating $20,000 to the Country Fire Authority and participating in a two-day fundraising event on Jan. 8 and 9 hosted by Chris Hemsworth. It is also relaunching several retired styles, with 100% of profits going to bushfire organizations; pre-orders for the pieces begin at 10 a.m. AEDT Jan. 9 and end at midnight on Jan. 12.
Byron Bay’s St. Agni donated 100% of online sales on January 5 to the Red Cross, raising $17,242. It has also partnered with fellow Aussie brands Velvet Canyon and Flash Jewellery on a prize pack worth $3,000; participants just need to donate $1 or more to one of the select organizations and submit their receipt by Jan. 10.
The shoe brand will be donating 100% of online and in-store profits on Saturday, Jan. 11, to the Red Cross and WIRES Wildlife Rescue on behalf of its team members. “We would like to thank all the firefighters, emergency services and volunteers who are working tirelessly to offer relief. You are heroes,” it wrote on Instagram.
“Words cannot express our devastation about the bushfires ravaging our beautiful country,” the brand wrote in an Instagram post, noting its donations to the Red Cross and to Drought Angels, an organization dedicated to supporting farmers and rural communities. “We invite you to join us in donating any amount, no matter how large or small, to make a difference to those in need.”
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