Local outdoor store, The Backpacker, raises over $17,000 for Habitat for Humanity flood relief and rebuilding efforts.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana-September 3, 2016. Local outdoors store, The Backpacker organized a garage sale style “gear sale” on Saturday to raise funds for the ongoing Louisiana flood relief efforts. Remembering the support offered by their vendors after Hurricane Katrina, The Backpacker staff began requesting donations of clothing, food, and medical kits shortly after the more recent Louisiana Flooding began to unfold. Though some items arrived immediately and were distributed to shelters and directly to neighborhoods in Denham Springs, it was another week before apparel from brands such as Patagonia and The North Face began showing up and by this point many shelters were no longer accepting clothing donations.
After hearing stories of the difficulty many organizations faced in distributing the overwhelming amount of clothing donations after Hurricane Katrina, Backpacker General Manager Tyler Hicks had the idea of turning the items into cash. “We were blown away that our vendors from around the country were willing to send us thousands of dollars worth of brand new high quality merchandise, no questions asked and this was at the beginning when the floods were barely getting any national media attention. We felt like we had an obligation and opportunity to do something special and not just dump these items in donation boxes that were already overflowing. We were already fans of the normal work Habitat does throughout the year, so when we heard they were helping strip flooded homes for those in need, we knew they were a great candidate for our support.”
A goal of $5000 was set but the donated merchandise kept coming. “Throughout the week leading up to the event, we kept receiving another 6-8 boxes a day, each containing around 100 items. We started wondering pretty quickly whether we had set our goal too low,” stated Hicks.
Shortly after the start of the Backpacker $5000 Flood Relief Gear Sale, a line of people 50 long formed to check out and didn’t dissipate for over an hour. The $5000 goal was reached within the first hour and by the time the day ended, over 2000 items had been purchased raising a grand total of over $17,000.
The Backpacker plans to make equal donations of half of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge and Habitat for Humanity of Lafayette.
Companies sending merchandise to support the flood relief efforts included Patagonia, The North Face, Fayettechill, Mountain Khakis, Toad & Co, Goal Zero, Pearl Frog, Guy Harvey, Darn Tough, Adventure Medical Kit, Osprey, Howler Bros, AO Coolers and Tasc.