The Helpers: Companies Making A Difference During The Coronavirus


The coronavirus has been a startling reminder to us all that however big the world is; however far away a city, town, or province may be, at the end of the day, we’re a lot more connected and interdependent than we think. And while that’s a sobering (and somewhat scary) realization to come to, on the flip side, it’s also proved that it’s in this interconnectivity and interdependence that we find our deepest strengths as well. 

The way people and communities have come together to support one another has been inspiring to say the least. So we wanted to train a spotlight on a few (of a truly long list) of companies—some of whom we’re lucky enough to call our customers—making a difference in these uncertain times. 

Supporting the Frontline Heroes

Without a doubt, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the healthcare workers battling this disease on the frontlines. And we’ve seen so many great examples of brands showing their support for these heroes that it’s been hard to keep this to a short list.

JOANN

One of our own customers, fabric and craft supplies retailer JOANN, is leveraging the efforts of passionate crafters across the US to make the protective face masks and gowns that healthcare workers so desperately need right now.

 

Besides offering free lessons on how to make these masks and gowns, and donating the supplies needed to make them, JOANN also helps distribute the items (once made) to medical centers in low supply. At the end of the day, JOANN’s found a truly creative way of tapping into an existing grassroots movement, and empowering them with the tools and resources to go further. 

Rothy’s 

And another one of our customers, sustainable shoe and handbag brand Rothy’s, made a generous $20,000 donation to Direct Relief, a charity helping to fund coronavirus relief efforts across the United States. 

It’s a sizeable sum that will go towards much-needed essentials that are currently running low, like protective masks, exam gloves, and isolation gowns in areas with confirmed cases.

JetBlue

Airline carrier, JetBlue (who is also a customer), is helping to bring much-needed medical personnel to New York, offering free flights to medical volunteers heading to the state.

With New York leading the nation in terms of the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, it’s certainly most welcome relief right now.

AllBirds

Online shoe retailer AllBirds is taking the missive to support healthcare workers quite seriously, literally supporting the tired feet of these frontline heroes. 

Last Friday, AllBirds gave away free pairs of their Wool Runners to healthcare workers as a token of their gratitude for the brave work they’re doing for the community.   

Supporting Workers Through Uncertain Times

As more people adopt social distancing, and an increasing number of states impose shelter-in-place orders, many retail stores, airlines, and restaurants have had to temporarily shut or significantly reduce their operations.

And that’s a hardship for both the companies and their staff. Yet through these tough times, we’ve seen great examples of brands that have stepped up to ensure that their staff are covered. 

Crate & Barrel, Sephora, REI, Lululemon, and more

Crate and Barrel (who we’re proud to call a customer) has had to make the hard decision to temporarily shut their physical stores during this crisis. But in a show of commitment to their hardworking employees, will continue to pay their salaries throughout the shutdown.  

And thankfully they’re not alone, with other brands like Sephora, REI, Lululemon, and many more joining suit. 

Understandably, not all brands will have the resources to do the same, but it’s heartening to see a growing list of companies that have been able to do so. 

Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and more

In appreciation of the great dedication shown by grocery store workers—coming in to restock shelves and sanitize carts while most Americans shelter in place—grocery chains like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway (amongst others) have introduced a $2/hour pay hike as well

Google

Google has set up a unique COVID-19 fund to enable the substantial number of temporary staff and vendors they employ globally to take paid sick leave should they come down with symptoms of the disease, or can’t come to work due to quarantine. 

Supporting Small, Local Businesses

Civic Science and Mark Cuban

As people venture less out of their homes, local independent businesses that relied on their custom have unfortunately seen their bottom lines suffer. 

That’s why research platform Civic Science decided to step in, offering to reimburse their employees who purchased lunch or coffee from these businesses. 

That small seed of positivity was quickly picked up by entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, who went on to promise any of his employees that they’d be reimbursed for the same

Providing Physical and Mental Respite

As we’re spending more time at home, away from friends, colleagues, and our usual avenues for stress release, some companies are stepping in to try and fill that gap of friend and even personal trainer. 

Andie

Another one of our amazing customers, online swimwear brand Andie, understands how lonely it can feel to do the right thing and stay home—their New York-based customer care team had to shift to working remote just a few weeks back. 

That’s why they’re trying to help the world feel a little lighter, brighter, and less lonely, updating their social sites with pictures of their team doing yoga, and their dogs (and boy are there some cute dogs), as well as offering themselves as a sounding board and listening ear to anyone who needs it.  

Andie CEO Melanie Travis in her very first Instagram Live video, answering viewers questions and sharing how she's coping through the crisis

Andie CEO Melanie Travis in her very first Instagram Live video, answering viewers questions and sharing how she’s coping through the crisis

Their CEO, Melanie Travis, is leading the charge by example. She recently invited all Andie customers to reach out to her on email, and even held a half-hour long Instagram live session (her first!) answering questions from their loyal fan base, and providing some much-needed social interaction as well. 

Peloton, Centr, Rumble, and more

Turns out that just because you can’t leave the house, doesn’t give you a good excuse to skip leg day—not anymore at least. 

Peloton has certainly seen an increase in interest as more consumers take to exercising from home. For their part, Peloton have increased their 30-day trial to 90 days to encourage their customers to stay home and stay healthy. 

Many other fitness apps and brands are also doing their best to encourage people to get active, with Chris Hemsworth’s new app Centr (yes, that Chris Hemsworth) offering an extended trial, and boxing-inspired gym Rumble taking their lessons to Instagram Live. 

Helping The Vulnerable

Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Target, Costco, and more

With senior citizens proving more susceptible to the virus than their younger counterparts, grocery stores across the US have stepped up to provide a safe space for senior citizens to get their grocery shopping done. 

Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Target, and Costco are just some of the chains implementing dedicated hours for senior citizens, but there are plenty more doing the same. 

USA Today is doing a good job keeping a list of those stores and hours here.  

Lyft and Lyft Drivers

And ride-hailing company, Lyft, is also expanding its scope of services to help vulnerable individuals through this crisis. 

They’ve announced plans to deliver critical medical supplies to those in need (including the elderly and those living with chronic diseases), expanding their existing medical transportation services for people who need to get to critical healthcare appointments, and delivering meals to seniors and students who ordinarily get subsidized lunches through school (the latter meal delivery is still in pilot and only available in San Francisco for now). 

It’s a great initiative by the company, but also only possible because of the brave Lyft drivers behind the wheel making this happen. 

Pivoting Operations

With supplies of hand sanitizers and much-needed medical supplies running low, it’s been incredibly heartening to see brands completely pivot away from their usual modus operandi, and mobilizing their resources to help. 

LVMH, Guerlain, L’Oréal, and more

French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE (better known as LVMH), which owns high-end, luxury brands like Christian Dior, Givenchy, heard the call by French health authorities to help fill key gaps in medical supplies—in this case, it was a call for hand sanitizers. 

Within 72 hours, LVMH had turned their production line of french colognes and eau de parfum into an assembly line of plastic hand sanitizer bottles. As of last week, they were on track to donate 12 tonnes of the germ-fighting gel, with plans to ramp up production to two additional factories. 

Since LVMH, other brands like Guerlain and L’Oréal have joined in the movement, converting their factories into hand sanitizer production centers. 

Fanatics, Balenciaga, For Days, and more

Besides hand sanitizers, medical staff are also facing very real shortages of the face masks and gowns they need to help prevent them catching the virus from the very people they’re treating.

To that end, we’ve seen many examples of clothing manufacturers pivoting their usual operations to produce these life-saving apparel.

Sportswear and merchandise retailer Fanatics turned their Pennsylvania factory towards producing gowns and masks that they intend to send throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York ask well.

And they’re not the only ones. We’ve seen the same from brands like Balenciaga, Prada, Big Bud Press, and Alabama Chanin too.

And we’ve also seen brands who may not have totally pivoted, but instead dedicated their unique resources to help in the crisis. For example, zero-waste clothing brand, For Days, is leveraging their sewing capacity to make reusable cotton masks for local hospitals. While clothing brand H&M is tapping into their European supply chain to source for personal protective equipment.  

While the times may be uncertain, this crisis has shown us that through it all, there will always be the helpers—people who step up in times of adversity, and give back however they can. And thankfully, we don’t have to look too far to find them. 

If you think of any brands, companies, or people who deserve a mention, give them a shout out on Twitter, and tag us (@Gladly) while you’re at it. Let’s keep the love, positivity, and good feelings going. 

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