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Vans[Photo by Harry Hundal / Unsplash]

Vans have been staying active through providing new footwear and supporting people and independent businesses through the coronavirus pandemic and the company is stepping up once again with a new initiative to shift some of their focus away from making shoes to manufacturing protective equipment for frontline workers.

The company is revealing today that they’re using some of the materials for their shoes to make reusable masks and face shields for frontline workers across the US.

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Vans Global President Doug Palladini says in a new statement that they’ve been able to prioritize their employee’s health while still keeping operations going and helping out where they can. While they’re shifting corporate offices to remote working and temporarily closing stores, store associates are still receiving full pay and benefits.

Their “Foot The Bill” program is already supporting independent businesses across the US with new designs representing businesses like restaurants, venues, skate shops and more. They partnered with dozens of specific businesses who will be receiving all net proceeds from the shoes’ sales. Through this, they’re estimating they’ve donated roughly $4 million USD already.

Now, they’re taking on some responsibility in supporting frontline workers who are risking their lives every day. They’re redirecting a portion of their supply chains towards producing reusable face masks from the canvases used for their shoes.

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“As a global footwear and apparel manufacturer, we recognize our responsibility to answer the call to help the many individuals who are risking their own health and well-being to provide vital services to those in need during this pandemic. We were determined to answer this call and have since redirected a portion of our supply chain operations to partner with Hedley & Bennett, current Vans partner and kitchen and workwear brand, in the creation of more than 250,000 reusable facial masks made from the canvas we utilize for Vans shoes. Beginning in May, these masks will be donated to organizations across Los Angeles and beyond who are working on the front lines to ensure those in need receive meals.”

They’re also donating tens of thousands of shoelaces to be repurposed into face shields for healthcare workers. They’re also donating thousands of pairs of shoes to healthcare workers in some of the country’s hardest-hit areas such as California, New Jersey, Texas, Michigan, Florida and more.

“We’ve also partnered with designer Michael Schmidt through the donation of more than 40,000 Vans shoelaces to enable their effort to create and donate medical face shields. With two 18” shoelaces required per face shield, the shoelaces will provide a critical component for 20,000 units to be donated to health workers across the U.S.”

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Going even further, the company are revealing the numbers behind their donations to community campaigns and emergency response benefits through the VF Foundation.

“As you all would have seen, the VF Foundation, the private grantmaking organization funded by VF Corporation has made the initial commitment to donate $1.5 million USD to support local communities and a further two-for-one community match campaign, up to an additional $500,000. I encourage each of you to visit the websites of our sister brands to learn more about how each is answering the call to action through various monetary, product, and material donations and how you personally can help.”

You can read more about their initiatives here.

What do you think of Vans’ new initiative to help make protective equipment for frontline workers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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