Merch-Driven Fundraisers Aid Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts

Merch-Driven Fundraisers Aid Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts

It’s another example of how branded merchandise can be used to help communities, including in the aftermath of tragedy.

Branded merchandise can be a force for good.

That’s in evidence again in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which wrought catastrophic damage on parts of Florida. Professional sports teams, promotional products companies and caring individuals are among those using imprinted message-driven apparel and other products to raise funds that will be used to help power storm relief efforts.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are part of the do-gooders. The NFL team has been selling T-shirts that bear the words “Florida Strong” and a Bucs logo. Funds from sales support those affected by the storm and are part of broader relief efforts from the club.

Sales of this Tampa Bay Buccaneers T-shirt help generate support for Hurricane Ian victims.

The Tamp Bay Rays are also leveraging merch to help encourage support for local communities affected by Ian. The MLB team is hosting drive-thru donation events on Thursday, Oct. 6 in which people are encouraged to drop off items to aid hurricane recovery efforts. In exchange for the altruism, fans receive official Rays-branded playoff flags and yard signs. The Rays are in the MLB playoffs for a fourth straight year.

Promo products companies are getting in on the give-back, too. Top 40 supplier Delta Apparel (asi/49172) created a T-shirt using its popular Salt Life brand to help propel Red Cross relief initiatives in Florida’s Ian-affected communities. The shirt features the Salt Life script logo, a jumping marlin with a message that reads “Florida Proud” and the Florida state flag on the back. Word is that $18 from each $25 sale will go to the Red Cross.

Delta Apparel is helping to raise funds for the Red Cross’ Hurricane Ian relief initiatives with sales of this Salt Life brand shirt.   

Meanwhile, Largo, FL-based Top 40 supplier Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125) is among the companies that Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis specifically called attention to for having made particularly large donations to the Florida Disaster Relief Fund. Hit’s contributions helped the fund raise $35 million within just five days of its launch.

“While we were very fortunate to make it through this, many of our neighboring areas were not,” said Hit CEO C.J. Schmidt, a member of Counselor’s Power 50 list of promo’s most influential people. “Our hearts go out to them, and we pray everyone comes together to help those in need recover and rebuild.”

Elsewhere, Loveland Graphix, a promo products distributor/apparel decorator based in Loveland, OH, partnered with a local man on an Ian-focused T-shirt fundraising campaign. Andy Dumond of the Buckeye State designed the shirts with Ian relief in mind.

While from Ohio, Dumond frequently vacationed on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, which the hurricane devastated. Dumond wanted to help these communities he holds dear, and enlisted Loveland Graphix for aid in doing so through shirts that read “Sanibel/Captiva Strong.” As of Oct. 5, the campaign has generated $15,000, local media reported.

An Ohio man teamed up with a local distributor/decorator to create and sell these shirts, which have so far generated $15,000 in donations for Hurricane Ian relief.

The list of examples continues. Salt Strong, a community and coaching service for anglers, is selling branded T-shirts, with 100% of the profits going directly to the Captains For Clean Water Hurricane Relief Fund. There are individuals using online DIY design-and-sell merch platforms like Custom Ink and The Shop Forward for merch-fueled fundraisers. One Sanibel Island native now living in Georgia launched a T-shirt campaign on Custom Ink that generated $5,270, with the profits going directly to FISH of SanCap, a human services organization serving Sanibel and Captiva.

These initiatives, and others like them, are another reminder of how merch can be used strategically to help communities, including in the aftermath of tragedy.

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