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Fashion Industry Gathers In Conversation About Disaster Relief

With Hurricane Michael blustering through the Florida Panhandle this week, disaster relief and recovery is very much on our mind. Last night, Delivering Good hosted our first “Conversations with Delivering Good” panel discussion at United Legwear and Apparel Co’s showroom in New York City’s fashion district, to discuss our roles in providing support to those affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

With the increasing need for support to aid victims affected by disasters, the conversation focused on how individuals and corporations alike can personally take the initiative to give back. The conversation was moderated by Karen Giberson, President of Accessories Council, with panelists including a roster of NY’s most charitable thought leaders: Lisa Gurwitch, President and CEO of Delivering Good; Peter Gudaitis, Executive Director and CEO of NYDIS; Rita Polidori O’Brien, Vice President of Marketing and Communications of United Legwear and Apparel Co.; and Taylor Gray, Treasurer and Trustee of The Countess Moira Charitable Foundation.

Lisa Gurwitch stressed the importance of deep relationships within each arena – from the people who are directly engaged, to the people served and the industries that can make a difference – as well as the long-term commitment the organization makes in rebuilding communities. Peter Gudaitis of NYDIS mentioned that the support and assistance provided to many displaced people, like evacuees from Puerto Rico, often takes months or years before they are back on their feet.

In response to her role in disaster relief and recovery, Rita Polidori O’Brien stated, “Partnering with Delivering Good makes it easy for our brand to give back to those who need it most. For a very busy office like ours, it is challenging to locate a recipient and arrange transportation for the goods. Delivering Good picks up donations right from our warehouse and efficiently and effectively gets the product to where it is most needed.”

With major changes swiftly sweeping both the fashion and nonprofit industries, it was critical to address how they affect how people and companies engage with disaster relief. With more robust inventory management, it is critical for retailers and manufacturers to consider new ways to support recovery efforts – and ‘manufacture for giving back’ elicited interest from attendees. Of course, sustainability was a hot topic as well. Considering Delivering Good provides only brand new items to people in need, it serves as the ideal solution for brands to offload inventory with the added benefit of both helping others and avoiding negative environmental impact (and press).

Even though numerous nonprofits tend to already have established beneficiaries and funding, the work does not stop there. “Before I knew it, I was part of the Delivering Good team, attending the GCI post-disaster convening in Miami. This was an eye opener,” said Taylor Gray. “Now we are reaching out to other funding entities – to tell our story and to encourage them to take a look for themselves at the Delivering Good story and the possibility of becoming involved as well.”

It is essential to educate individuals and corporations on the importance of giving back and how they can partake in recovery efforts – from financial contributions, product donations and sharing the message via the media. Delivering Good extends its sincerest gratitude to all panelists for taking the initiative, and to the attendees for taking time out of their busy lives to pause and think about how they too, can assist relief and recovery efforts.

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