Social Empowerment: Industry companies raise $1,800 for tsunami relief using grassroots methods

In its continuing effort to raise funds for tsunami relief, two Mountain Hardwear events have garnered more than $1,800 for the Thai One On Tsunami Relief Project.
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In its continuing effort to raise funds for tsunami relief, two Mountain Hardwear events have garnered more than $1,800 for the Thai One On Tsunami Relief Project.

Aroon Wangbunyen, owner of Eaglespeed Marketing Co. Ltd., a Thai-owned and based outdoor apparel manufacturer, wanted to raise funds for Thai victims of the Asian tsunami on Dec. 26 and include them in the process. He bought thousands of scarves from various Thai villages and sent them to outdoor industry contacts, including Mountain Hardwear, creating the Thai One On Tsunami Relief Project.

Mountain Hardwear had wanted to launch the Thai One On fundraising efforts at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, but getting the scarves through customs proved a bit more time consuming than anticipated.

Not to be deterred, at the end of February, Mountain Hardwear held a fund-raising scarf sale at the base of Colorado's Steamboat Resort ski area during a local concert. It enlisted other outdoor industry companies in town, including SmartWool, Big Agnes and Moots, to man the booth in one-hour increments and ended up raising $1,300 by day's end.

Paige Boucher, Mountain Hardwear's PR manager, said she strung a clothesline from the tent and used clothespins to hang up scarves, attracting a lot of attention from event passersby. Being next to the event's beer tent didn't hurt either, she joked.

Mountain Hardwear also held an after-work-hours fund-raiser and its employees bought $500 worth of scarves.

"I know the money we raise will go a long way toward helping tsunami survivors as they build new homes and schools and get back on their feet," Boucher said.

Mountain Hardwear is encouraging other industry companies to set up their own grassroots fund-raisers and has a supply of scarves available, pre-packed in boxes of 100 in a variety of styles. Scarves of different blends -- silk/poly and cotton wovens in plain, tie-dyed or with a pattern -- are available with pricing from $10 to $50. Mountain Hardwear also has a 3-foot by 8-foot banner it can lend out for events, and has opened a checking account for donations.

Boucher said money will be divided between the Red Cross Tsunami Relief and a grassroots project called Kamali Kids (www.phuket-guide.com and www.shantisos.com/thailand/), which is being spearheaded by an outdoor industry writer who is raising money for school supplies and shoes for school children in Phuket, Thailand.

To request a supply of scarves for a fund-raising event, contact Mountain Hardwear's Tim Shoaf at tshoaf@mountainhardwear.com or 510-558-2916. For more details about setting up a fund-raising event and submitting donations from the events, contact Boucher at mhrprgal@spingsips.com or 970-871-1308.

"Social Empowerment" is a regular column published by SNEWS® (regular implying that when we have news, we'll publish it) focusing the spotlight on goodwill of industry friends who are, either as a company, or as individuals, stepping up to social responsibility. This column, coupled with our monthly environmentally-focused "Green Scene" column will, we trust inspire, challenge, and offer opportunity for each one of us to look inside our own lives, and those of the companies we work for and with, to ensure that we are doing all we can socially and environmentally. If you know of a company, an organization or an individual that deserves mention by the SNEWS® team, send an email to:socialempowerment@snewsnet.com.

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