On May 20, 2013, an EF5 tornado tore apart hundreds of homes and families in Moore, Oklahoma, a busy suburb just 10 miles south of our neighborhood here in Oklahoma City.
Our team watched live news coverage as schools and hospitals were destroyed, waiting for the tornado to lift and waiting to see what it would leave in its wake. The waiting turned out to be agonizing once we realized that many of those who weren’t beginning to dig out from under the mountainous rubble were schoolchildren. We watched footage of first responders working to rescue those children from their now-unrecognizable elementary school, brick by brick, late into the night, unable to break for dinner or chores or phone calls. We felt so helpless and we wished that it was our hands digging and our voices calling out reassurance to those buried below.
And then, in the middle of the night, we realized that everyone else was wishing that too.
Our hope is that this tee shirt, and it’s contribution to the American Red Cross, will help those of you who experienced that same desperate desire to run toward disaster to feel like you’ve done that. That you became one of the helpers, even if your heartfelt comfort and care are offered through the hands of a Red Cross relief worker instead of your own.
And we trust that our collective gift to the relief efforts, through the sales of this tee, will give real hope and tangible help to the people of Moore. To those who’ve lost so much, we hope you’ll feel our hugs and prayers with every hot meal and every safe shelter.
A few important notes about tee shirt donations:
It’s important to us to be transparent and uncomplicated about our charitable donations through retail sales. So here’s the breakdown of what exactly your purchase accomplishes: For every $25 tee shirt purchase, we committed to donate $19 directly to the American Red Cross, up to $10,000. The difference of $6 is simply our actual blank tee shirt cost — for this initial run of shirts, we donated our labor and supply costs, which total several hundred dollars so far. Once our donation totaled $10,000, we committed to continue to donate to the Red Cross, but at a rate of $12.50 per purchase. This allows us to recoup our labor and supply costs, while still directing any profit to relief efforts.
Our donation will go to the disaster relief fund of the OKC chapter of the American Red Cross. We are proud to give to an organization with such a long-standing history of dedicated and passionate work to provide efficient, personable and smart relief in the midst of disaster. And we are pleased that the contribution we make will aid all those in Oklahoma who’ve been affected by a tornado, from Shawnee to Newcastle to Moore. For information about how the Red Cross is using donated funds to assist Oklahoma’s tornado victims, please visit their FAQ page here.