Photo by Austin Disaster Relief Network
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by Sean Saldaña

ADRN distributes 25,000 articles of clothing donated by Uniqlo

Last month, Texas endured a historic winter storm that left millions of people across the state without access to power. At one point during the week of Feb. 15, as many as 40 percent of Austin residents were without power. But as anybody on the ground could observe, things didn’t immediately return to normal as soon as the weather warmed up. For weeks afterward, many Texans were still without power or water, and across the state, boil-water notices went into effect.

It wasn’t until Feb. 23 that the boil notice was lifted in Austin, and the broader severe weather response effort has extended into March as well.

Families were allowed to select three sets of clothes per family member. Photo by Austin Disaster Relief Network.

One of the most noteworthy pushes in the recovery effort involves the Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo. Although the company doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar locations in Texas, in a press release last Friday, the city announced that Uniqlo had donated “nearly 25,000 articles of new and like-new clothing in support of the Winter Storm Uri response and recovery efforts in Austin.”

The items donated include things like shirts and pants as well as other essential items that are often overlooked, like socks and underwear. The company also contributed 20,000 of its AIRism face masks.

Commenting on the effort, Uniqlo USA CEO Daisuke Tsukagoshi said that the company is “inspired by everyone’s strength and resilience during this difficult time.”

The distribution of the donation was overseen by the Austin Disaster Relief Network, an organization that provides “immediate financial assistance, emergency housing and transportation, emotional and spiritual care and connects families with vital resources” after disasters.

During the storm, the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management activated the Emergency Operations Center to respond to the event and oversee city recovery efforts. ADRN is one of the organizations that has partnered with the EOC in its efforts.

Although power and water are now restored, many Austinites still need help with longer-term recovery from the disaster. This is where ADRN has stepped up over the past month.

According to the release, the organization came “equipped with warehouse space and an army of volunteers” to receive, sort and distribute the clothing items. The clothes, which arrived in Austin last Tuesday, were organized by ADRN on Wednesday and Thursday and distributed Friday – meaning that in total, the entire effort took less than a week to pull off.

The clothing was also paired with 600 care kits, which included “food, hygiene, PPE and hydration kits.”

Residents arrived at the warehouse at 1905 S. Capital of Texas Highway on Friday at 9 a.m. and by the end of the day, all of the clothing, protective equipment and resources had been distributed. Families were allowed three sets of clothes per family member. In total, ADRN gave away 1,300 bags of supplies and clothing to more than 200 families.

ADRN Associate Director Stephen Brewer told the Austin Monitor, “When there’s an opportunity like this, we’ll do everything that we can to help meet that need. There were a lot of heroic efforts all throughout this disaster and we’ve been so encouraged with how volunteers have arisen to meet the need on a moment’s notice.”

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