We here at OE take our mission to help folks get outdoors seriously. The outdoors is our heritage; it’s where we come together. And we want to help organizations working to keep our outdoors clean and healthy. But we also want to see more people healthy and able to enjoy what nature has to offer. Working for the health and dignity of our neighbors is as important to us as the health of our environment.
This summer, we asked our own employees what causes are near and dear to their hearts. The responses have been inspiring, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is. These are the charitable organizations we’re spotlighting for extra support this year. All summer long, 5% of every purchase made through outdoorequipped.com goes to our featured charity, and on top of that we're going to match those contributions up to $600. These folks are doing good work, and we think they deserve a closer look.
July 21 - 28: ALS Hope Foundation
Lou Gehrig’s disease - more properly, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) - is a degenerative neuromuscular disease affecting the muscles. Most cases of ALS have no known cause, though there’s some evidence that both genetic and environmental factors are at work. The disease attacks muscles responsible for chewing food, speaking, and walking, until the ability to eat, speak, and move freely are lost. ALS eventually causes paralysis and death, usually from respiratory failure.
The ALS Hope Foundation's mission is three-fold. First, providing and expanding care to patients with ALS and their families. Second, education and awareness of ALS and its early symptoms. And third, supporting research toward a cure at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine.
August 3- 10: Parkinson’s Foundation
Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the nervous system, characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty walking. As the disease progresses, eventually non-motor functions are also affected. Parkinson’s can manifest differently for everyone, and often early Parkinsons symptoms are mild and go unnoticed by those afflicted.
The Parkinson’s Foundation works to improve care and treatments available to those with Parkinsons. Early Parkinson’s symptoms can be managed and alleviated somewhat with the right help. The Parkinson’s Foundation is dedicated to expanding those resources and fighting for a cure.
August 17-24: The Special Olympics & Their Affiliates
The Special Olympics is an inspiring global movement of people with intellectual and physical disabilities creating a world of inclusion and community through the transformative power of sports. The drive of competition and the satisfaction of achievement are not just individual feelings for the 5.7 million athletes from all over the world (including nearly a million from the US and Canada) who train and compete in the Special Olympics, but for the 1.2 million volunteers, the family members, the caretakers, the town and cities and countries that athletes represent. Special Olympics athletes are a particular kind of bad-a** and I urge you to read about their stories here.
Beyond Special Olympics events across the US and around the world, the Special Olympics works with governments and NGOs to build health and advocacy networks all over the world for people with intellectual and physical disabilities and reimagines all of our places in society and the part we can all play.
Month of September: The Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimier’s disease is a brain disorder that progressively destroys memory, language and thinking skills, and eventually motor function. It’s the most common cause of dementia among older Americans, and right now there are over 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. The causes of Alzheimer’s are unclear, but the disease is characterized by abnormal clumps (called amyloid plaques) and tangles in the brain’s tissues that impair normal functions.
The Alzheimer’s Association leads the fight for Alzheimer’s treatment and the search for an Alzheimer’s cure by accelerating research around the world, advocating for risk reduction and early detection, and expanding quality care and support for those affected by the disease. The Covid pandemic has made the situation even harder for folks living with Alzheimer’s as well as their loved ones and caregivers, so there’s no better time than now to help out.
Some More Causes We Support
In addition to the Alzheimer’s Association, Special Olympics, Parkinson’s Foundation, and ALS Hope Foundation, I want to give a shout-out to organizations that Outdoor Equipped has ongoing relationships with that you should consider supporting!
Cape Fear River Watch
Cape Fear River Watch works hard for the health, beauty, and heritage of North Carolina’s Cape Fear River basin. They work with the community and leaders to educate about river health. They’ve helped instigate big clean-up efforts, dissuaded businesses from placing hazardous facilities along the river’s banks, and they coordinate with other local organizations as part of the Cape Fear River Partnership, promoting the restoration of fisheries in the river.
Most importantly, they educate and engage citizens. Their Creekwatcher program educates volunteers to inspect and monitor the health of local waterways. They hold seminars featuring speakers and discussions covering a wide range of topics. On Second Saturday Cleanups you can join other volunteers at various local sites to clean up the CFR. Third Saturdays, they lead kayaking trips out to explore the beauty of the river - paddling through the blackwater to view lush cypress swamps and wildlands. These paddles are suspended for now due to Covid, but keep an eye out for them starting up again soon.
YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina
For nearly two hundred years the YMCA has put into practice its mission of creating places where people can gather to build healthy bodies, minds, and spirits. They strive for accessibility, so everyone can have access to team sports like basketball and volleyball, summer camps, swimming, and running. There’s no need to feel down; there’s probably a Y in your community or close by. If you live in the Wilmington area, get yourself off the ground and head over to the state-of-the-art facilities at the Nir Family Y and check out their various youth programs this summer.
The outdoors beckon to us. But not everybody has the same opportunities to enjoy them. The Salvation Army is a charity dedicated to helping our neighbors who may not have everything they need to live in safety and dignity. Salvationists have been at it for over a century and a half, working tirelessly to meet the needs of those less fortunate in our communities. Outdoor Equipped partners with the Salvation Army to distribute clothing and other items to people in need throughout the Southeast, getting clothing to be safe and warm directly to them. Don’t wait until you see Santa ringing a bell on the street corner - check your local Salvation Army today for opportunities to volunteer or donate.
This summer, every product sold through our website means that 5% of your purchase goes directly to these organizations. We’re proud to support folks on the front lines fighting neurodegenerative diseases, and we’re hopeful for the future of understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS. We’re honored to be a part of the Special Olympics mission of making the world a more inclusive and empowered place - one athlete, one volunteer, one family member at a time. So please join us in supporting and celebrating these fine people and causes this summer and beyond!