PORTLAND, Ore. — Two Portland companies, known for their shoes and athletic wear, are switching gears and stepping up to protect the community in the fight against COVID-19.
Dhvani has a huge goal: a free face mask for every American, all 327 million of us and counting.
“This really is about American ingenuity and us banding together,” Co-founder Avi Brown said.
The apparel brand started its mission with a donation of 10,000 medical-grade face masks to Providence St. Vincent medical center in Portland. As well as 1,000 of their non-medical cloth masks to essential workers, like grocery store employees.
“This really isn't just about protecting yourself, it's about protecting each other," Brown said. “One of the most amazing things about this county is that American people know how to care for and about each other. And that's what this is about.”
Now, their sights are set on all Americans, and co-founder Avi Brown is challenging anyone who can to pay it forward, specifically billionaires, to donate to their cause so they can make millions of masks.
“Come on, let's step up and put a mask on every face in America,” he said.
Portland's Keen Footwear is also on a mission to make masks.
“The simple act of wearing a mask shows that you care about your family, your community and that you're taking charge and taking control by doing something positive,” Keen Chief Brand Officer Erik Burbank said.
They're making masks for grocery workers, Keen employees and their families, and soon the public.
“Since the beginning of our business, more than 16 years ago, [we] have always looked to find ways to support the community and it was clear there was a need and remains to be a need for providing people with non-medical, washable, environmentally conscious masks,” Burbank said.
This is another example of Portland companies doing what they can to make sure we can protect ourselves and each other.
“It's a very simple thing that they can do to help ensure that we're all fighting COVID-19 together,” Burbank said.
Keen is giving out 100,000 masks. It started with Fred Meyer grocery store employees. Wednesday they'll distribute them to Keen employees and their families in Portland. Then, their sustainably made masks will be available to everyone around May 15.