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Apparel Companies Donate to Nepal Earthquake Relief

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Scores of apparel brands and retailers are rushing to aid those devastated by last Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, which has so far claimed the lives of 5,016 people and injured more than 10,000 across the impoverished Himalayan nation.

New York-based fashion designer Prabal Gurung, a Nepalese native, established an earthquake relief fund on CrowdRise and has already raised nearly $400,000. All donations will go to his nonprofit organization, Shikshya Foundation Nepal, which will distribute the funds accordingly, based on the latest needs on the ground.

“All I wanted to do was just to be able to help,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “My thing was just to make sure people are aware of it.”

Tim Boyle, CEO of outdoor apparel and footwear brand Columbia Sportswear, said it’s the company’s responsibility to help the Nepalese people by responding to the crisis. Columbia has made a cash donation of $50,000 to several nonprofit organizations including Mercy Corps, Oxfam and Unicef.

In addition, the brand will match all employee donations earmarked for relief efforts, without limit, and once the situation on the ground allows will donate product to relevant relief providers. “Our hearts and prayers are with the Nepalese people and everyone impacted by this tragedy,” Boyle added.

Sherpa Adventure Gear, which makes 85 percent of its outdoor clothing and gear in Nepal, has launched a fundraising campaign to aid remote villages affected by the disaster. The company has so far raised more than $32,000 and pledged to dedicate all donations to relief efforts on the ground through its Paldorje Education Fund network.

“We believe this is the wisest way to bring support where it does the most good, working through our contacts in each community,” said founder and CEO Tashi Sherpa. “There is much we can do together to help. We can reduce the pain of the present and help to ease the future for those who need to see hope.”

Sears Canada is accepting donations to the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation Nepal Earthquake Rebuild Fund of Canada at all retail stores and by phone, starting today through Monday, May 5. The company is also making a corporate donation based on what its customers and team members donate. According to Zeke O’Connor, founder and executive director of the foundation and a retired Sears Canada executive, the funds raised will rebuild the homes, schools and hospitals in remote mountain villages.

Gap is also getting involved by matching employee donations to Mercy Corps and doing its due diligence in Bangladesh, where concerns have been voiced about structural damage caused to garment factories during the quake. Elsewhere, the Retail Orphan Initiative (RetailROI) has donated $7,000 to Free for Life International, while Inditex, parent company of Zara and Massimo Dutti, has donated 1.2 million euros ($1.3 million) to Red Cross, Oxfam and Caritas to help with rescue efforts.

For information on how to help, the Better Business Bureau has released a list of charities that are providing aid to Nepal and meet its accountability standards.

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