Sharing Our Strength

More than a week after Haiti’s earthquake , the tragedy still remains at the forefront of our hearts and minds.  And while it’s good news that relief and recovery efforts are underway, it’s clearly not enough.  Countless reports lament the fact that critical supplies aren’t being transported or distributed quickly enough, nor reaching those who need them most.  Goods and personnel coming into the island nation remain largely bottlenecked, as Port Au Prince ’s nonfunctioning seaport and many impassible roads hinder relief efforts.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of so many challenges … but it’s also an opportunity to think creatively about how you might be able to help.

Timberland knows very little about disaster relief.  But we do know about distribution – getting goods from Point A to Point B is a critical component of our business, and so we have to know how to manage it fairly well.

Another thing we know about is making boots – and one of the primary places we do it is in the Dominican Republic , where we’ve owned and operated a factory since 1982.  Our Dominican Timberland community is 1,600 people strong, operating out of 10 buildings in the Free Zone Pisano in Santiago.

So – if we leverage our experience in managing transportation and distribution, make use of our workforce and facilities in the DR as a means of bringing supplies to the island, and then work with our existing partner on the ground, Yele Haiti – we just might be able to help get supplies into the hands of the survivors who need them most.

We tested the model  a few days ago, facilitating the delivery of 70,000 pounds of food and medical supplies from Toronto to Santiago where it was trucked across the border and into Haiti.  It worked – and now we’re committed to making the model more scalable so that we can continue to use the infrastructure and people power we already have in place to lend our strength in the best way we can.  We have the model, we have the desire … now we simply need to figure out how.

In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to revisiting the original mission of our partnership with Yele Haiti – reforestation – and hope to move ahead with our plans to build a tree nursery and provide both trees and fruit for a region more in need than ever.  For now, we are proud to have found a way to support the critical work they’re doing to bring care and relief to people in Haiti.

You can make a donation to the Yele Haiti earthquake fund by clicking here or texting the word “yele” to 501501 ($5 per text will be donated).

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