Wolverine Worldwide, based in Rockford, Michigan, has launched a series of initiatives to support health services and people under financial stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group has donated more than 35,000 face masks to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The protective equipment will be used by healthcare workers on the frontline. It has also has retrofitted its ReChaco factory in Rockford, to produce additional face masks and other protective equipment that are being donated to healthcare workers and first responders. The factory is operated by the group’s Chaco brand. It is equipped with industrial sewing machines, ample backstock of materials and a team with extensive sewing expertise. The brand plans to share patterns, sourcing leads and learnings with other companies and individuals looking to contribute during the pandemic, Wolverine said. 

The brand has also converted its ReChaco Mobile Repair Factory bus, currently based in the Pacific Northwest, to produce masks to support local efforts in Portland and Hood River, Oregon. Additionally, it is asking its followers on social media to write letters of encouragement that the Chaco team is sending to healthcare workers alongside the protective masks.

Meanwhile, the group’s largest brand Merrell, donated 1,200 pairs of shoes and boots to hospitals in Grand Rapids, including Spectrum Health and Mercy Health, as well as to the Grand Rapids police and fire departments. The footwear came from the brand’s work and tactical line. Additionally, it donated 250 neck gaiters to Mercy Health.

Some of the group’s brands also partnered with the Two Ten Footwear Foundation to establish the “COVID-19 Share Your Shoes Campaign” aimed at helping footwear industry workers needing financial aid due to the economic impact of the pandemic. The brands Hush Puppies, Sperry, Keds, Hytest and Bates Footwear, collectively donated over 13,000 pairs of shoes which will be converted into cash and distributed to footwear industry families in need.

Many of the group’s brands also used their social media channels as part to the support effort. This includes Merrell’s ”Get and Give Campaign”, under which consumers will receive a $25 e-gift card for orders over $100 on Merrell.com with the intent that the gift card will be sent to someone working on the front lines or someone in need.