Wolverine Worldwide and its lifestyle footwear brands are donating footwear to frontline workers in response to COVID-19.
The Rockford-based maker of apparel and shoes said Wednesday that it is making donations and providing other support to health care workers, law enforcement and other first responders across the country, as well as footwear industry employees and their communities.
“The safety and well-being of our employees, consumers and communities continue to be our top priority as we navigate the global ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Blake Krueger, chair, president and CEO of Wolverine Worldwide.
“That’s why we are happy to contribute our talent and resources in service of frontline workers who are risking their own health and safety to help those in need, and to others feeling the heavy impacts of this pandemic.”
Merrell, the largest brand in Wolverine Worldwide’s portfolio, recently donated 1,200 pairs of shoes and boots to hospitals in Grand Rapids, including Spectrum Health and Mercy Health, as well as to the Grand Rapids police and fire departments.
The footwear came from Merrell’s work and tactical lines, specifically designed for first responders in these critical roles.
Additionally, the brand donated 250 neck gaiters to Mercy Health, which are being used as backup protective equipment for health care staff.
“We hope a new pair of shoes can be a bright spot for these brave people during these unprecedented times. Merrell thanks them for their work and service to our community,” said Chris Hufnagel, president of Merrell
Hush Puppies-led initiative
In response to the need for emergency financial aid for thousands of footwear industry families affected by the new coronavirus pandemic, several of Wolverine Worldwide’s brands have partnered with the Two Ten Footwear Foundation to establish the COVID-19 Share Your Shoes Campaign.
The initiative was led by Hush Puppies and joined by Sperry, Keds, HYTEST and Bates Footwear. Collectively, the brands have donated more than 13,000 pairs of shoes, which will be converted into cash and distributed to footwear industry families in need.
Two Ten provides emergency financial assistance and access to counseling services and community resources to footwear employees facing difficult times.
Applications for financial help at Two Ten have spiked more than 200% in the past two weeks and, based on the current rate, the foundation is anticipating about 10 times the average number of applications will be filed between April-June.