When it became clear five days ago that the coronavirus pandemic was not just alarmist, but that it would be devastating for our country, the leadership at KEEN circled up (via ZOOM) to decide what the company could do to help.
They talked about how they could leverage what they do best: Build shoes.
And with that, KEEN decided to give away 100,000 pairs of shoes to people who need them in a program they’re calling Together We Can Help.
“Shoes are our currency,” says Ashley Williams, senior director of global marketing title. “This is one thing we can do to immediately help people who have to be on their feet all day, on the front lines, and families in need.”
KEEN’s homepage explains the program, which is quite simple.” Whether these shoes help a worker stay comfortable during a long shift or simply allow people to get outside to breathe in the benefits of nature while safely practicing social distancing, we feel compelled to share our strengths for the common good.”
The page includes a simple form where anyone can nominate an individual—think about first responders, people in the medical community, local grocery store workers, postal workers, law enforcement—or an entire family in need of shoes. Fill in a few details, add a personal note if you choose, and click a button.
KEEN’s Kentucky distribution center remains open (with all the recommended precautions in place) and the staff is ready to start shipping out shoes immediately.
“The Together We Can Help initiative is fundamentally about enabling people to take positive action and build connection in a time of increasing isolation,” said Erik Burbank, global GM outdoor, lifestyle, kids.
“We believe allowing people to ‘pay it forward” by providing someone in their community with a free pair of shoes, will help build connection at a time of great need.”
How KEEN is helping its retailers
KEEN does not anticipate this giveaway, which will amount to about $10 million dollars in product, to hurt its retail distributers. “We believe our Together We Can Help program will benefit those most in need who may otherwise not be able to purchase new shoes during this time,” says Williams. “Stronger communities help everyone.”
KEEN says it’s working with all its retail partners through this crisis to support them in the best way and sending out a formal note today about the program and terms.” Each relationship is unique and we’re working with each partner on an individual basis,” says Williams.