Blog / May. 05

Retailers Give Back in the Fight Against COVID-19: The Americas Edition

Allie Howen

It can seem difficult to stay positive during a pandemic. The 24-hour news cycle is almost unavoidable whether you are turning on the TV or browsing through your social networks – which both just so happen to be primary forms of entertainment, especially when so many people are stuck at home.

When living in a time when the news seems to be perpetually bleak, a quote from the American television personality Mr. Rogers comes to mind:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

During the pandemic, frontline workers such as medical professionals, first responders, essential store employees and sanitation staff are some of the most obvious individuals who are helpers, and also, heroes.

And it’s not just heroic individuals who are making a difference in the fight against COVID-19; it’s businesses large and small that are bringing real change and positive impacts.

While it would be impossible to name them all, here is a snapshot of a few companies in the retail industry – focusing on North and Latin America – that are selflessly giving back.

And for more good news, be sure to read our previous blog, Retailers Give Back in the Fight Against COVID-19: Europe and Asia Edition.

Giving Back in North America
Many companies are making a difference with donations, including Mars, Incorporated. The company has committed to a $20 million donation to support the people, pets and communities most affected by COVID-19.

Luxury brand Michael Kors also made a sizeable donation. The brand, along with personal contributions from founder and Chief Creative Officer Michael Kors and CEO John Idol, will be donating $2 million toward COVID-19 relief efforts in New York City, where the company is based. The funds will be donated to several organizations, including two of NYC’s largest hospital systems, a non-profit that delivers nutritious meals to medically vulnerable people, and small businesses in the fashion community to help provide financial relief.

And when it comes to product donation, many retailers are also helping by shifting their business operations to make medical supplies for the heroes on the front lines. In the United States, J. McLaughlin began producing face masks for an organization called Masks4Medicine in NYC, while New Balance and L.L. Bean are producing face masks at their New England factories. Plus, Harbor Freight donated its entire supply of personal protective equipment items (including N95 masks, face shields and gloves) to frontline hospitals in the communities served by its stores.

Looking north to Canada, Canadian Tire Corporation is providing both monetary and supply donations as part of its $5 million COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund provides donations of $1 million each to the Canadian Red Cross and United Way Centraide Canada, as well as up to $3 million in product donations to support frontline medical workers and community organizations in need.

Making a Difference in Latin America
Falabella, a Chilean department store chain, is making a meaningful difference by supporting the education of children through its Making School program. With support from the Ministry of Education and Education Foundations, the retailer announced that it will be sharing daily content and educational activities so that children can keep learning at home.

In another example, Librerías Gandhi is offering a selection of free e-books to help people pass time during quarantine. The Mexican bookstore retailer spread the news about this initiative on its social media channels, where it provided a website people could visit to browse through a selection of more than 100,000 free e-books.

Additionally, Brazilian cosmetic company O Boticário’s made a donation of 1.7 tons of gel alcohol to Curitiba’s municipal health department so that the product could be used as hand sanitizer to help fight COVID-19.

Be a Helper
From individuals sewing masks for their local hospitals to large organizations making significant donations to relief funds, it is an endless source of inspiration to see the “helpers” from across the retail industry come together to make the world a safer, healthier and kinder place during the crisis.

Want more retail inspiration? Read our blog about retailers in Europe and Asia making a meaningful difference in the fight against coronavirus.