Employees at Timberland receive 40 hours of paid time each year for community service. Employees with a particular knack for sewing or crafting often find creative ways to use their hours: knitting hats for premature babies, making blankets for home-bound seniors, or creating no sew pillows to donate to those in need. Last June, Ann Caron, manager of social compliance & reporting at Timberland helped to organize a meeting with Dress A Girl Around The World (DAG), an organization that sends handmade dresses to little girls in third-world countries who may never own a new dress of their own. Excited about this worthy cause, Timberland scheduled a DAG sew-a-thon for October, and began to look for an organization to which to donate the dresses that would have a connection to the company.
The Challenge of Giving:
Enter Pedro Jiminez, HR manager at Timberland’s Dominican Republic factory, who recommended a worthy organization to receive the dresses – Centro Educativo Santa Teresa, a community center and school located near the sugar cane fields of La Higuera, El Seibo in the Dominican Republic. The challenge, however, was in the numbers – Timberland made 56 dresses at its sew-a-thon, but the center services 1,500 children including boys as well as girls. Not one to be discouraged, Timberland’s DAG Ambassador, Jackie Dewey, put the word out to local sewing groups near the company’s Stratham, NH headquarters, and collected more than 500 dresses, as well as other donated clothing for girls and shorts for boys. Timberland and Jackie also put out the word in Stratham, soliciting donations of gently used boys’ clothing, which generated even more items.
A Collective Solution:
Looking for additional help to clothe as many children as possible, Timberland reached out to its partners at VF Corporation,
while Pedro reached out to Sunjade, a large Vans Factory in the Dominican Republic, hoping to spread the word about the company’s DAG efforts. VF Corporation connected Timberland with VF Jeanswear, which includes the brands Lee, Riders by Lee, Wrangler and Rock & Republic. By day’s end, VF Jeanswear had about ten boxes of boys and girls clothes pulled, folded, and packed for delivery to Timberland. With Sunjade and VF Corporation’s help, Timberland was able to ship 1,900 garments (consisting of the DAG dresses and the clothing from VF Jeanswear), as well as 2,000 pairs of Vans sneakers for the children.
On November 20, 2015 more than 40 Timberland employees and family members from the company’s Dominican Republic and Sunjade factories traveled to Centro Educativo Santa Teresa to donate the clothing and footwear at a large event that included footwear stations, face painting, music and more. A second group of Timberland employees made a trip in mid-December to a more remote area and donated the remaining clothing and footwear.
One employee’s vision to use her volunteer hours became a VF Corporation-wide effort that made a significant impact for children in the Dominican Republic. As 2016 begins and volunteer hours reset, more good is sure to come.