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Industry Responds to Oklahoma Tornados

Footwear charities and retailers begin outreach.

The footwear industry is coming to the aid of the Oklahoma tornado victims.

Waltham, Mass.-based Two Ten Footwear Foundation sent a call to action to its members on Tuesday.

“We want every single footwear company, independent retailer and any retiree from our community that has been affected by the recent tornados to know they can call Two Ten 24/7 for emergency aid, ” said Two Ten President Neal Newman.

Those individuals impacted by the tornado are eligible for assistance, including food, clothing, emergency supplies, short-term housing and counseling services through Two Ten.

Soles4Souls Inc. also has begun outreach to all of its industry partners. President and CEO Buddy Teaster said the organization plans to have shoes delivered to devastated areas as early as Saturday.

“We’ll tuck in under what the first responders do,” Teaster said. “Once the immediate shelter, food and water needs are taken care of, that’s when we’ll come in with our shoe shipments.”

Footwear retailers in the area also are looking to do their part. Famous Footwear, which has a store in Moore, Okla., is in communication with its employees on ways to help. Although the shop is currently closed with no power, the space and its employees were able to make it through the tornado unscathed.

“We have shared information on donating to the Red Cross with our associates and we’ll look for more opportunities to help as authorities and agencies determine what is needed,” Rick Ausick, division president of Famous Footwear, said via a written statement.

Evansville, Ind.-based retailer Shoe Carnival Inc. also had a store in the vicinity that sustained minimal damage. The firm’s president and CEO, Cliff Sifford, said all the store’s employees and families have been accounted for and that the company is willing to help the city recover from this natural disaster.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those who are suffering from the loss of life, injury and property damage resulting from the recent Oklahoma City area tornado,” Sifford said in an email correspondence. “While we deeply regret the community’s losses, we stand ready to assist in the effort to help those affected in standing up again, as we know they will.

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