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Gap Inc. Donates 6 Million Units of Clothing to Vulnerable Refugees and Displaced Families

WASHINGTON, DC, March 10, 2021 – USA for UNHCR and Gap Inc. announced today that Gap Inc. has donated 6 million units of apparel to aid the more than 79.5 million forcibly displaced people around the world. The gift represents one-third of the current annual global demand for clothing and is the single biggest new clothing donation to date for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Refugee boy in Burkina Faso receiving his new sweater from Gap in-kind donation

“Every day, tens of thousands of people are forced to flee their homes, often with just the clothes on their backs. The magnitude of the refugee crisis reinforces that challenges of such scale require collaboration and innovation,” said Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO of USA for UNHCR. “Thanks to the generosity and support of Gap Inc., we can help deliver protection and assistance to the millions of people who have been forced to flee home due to violence and persecution.”

In the initial emergency support phase for refugees, UNHCR provides essential items including tents, buckets, blankets and sleeping mats. But there is immense need beyond these core relief items — and clothing is one of the most critical. This year alone, UNHCR projects that refugees and displaced people worldwide will need a minimum of approximately 15 million pieces of clothing.

“At Gap Inc., we seek to fill the gaps in our world by supporting individuals, families and communities. We believe clothes – and the clothes people wear – can positively impact their lives.  We are proud to partner with UNHCR to address the needs of refugees around the world” said Sally Gilligan, Chief Information Officer and Chief Strategy Officer for Gap Inc.  “We will continue to seek out similar opportunities and hope that this innovative partnership unlocks additional opportunities for other brands to help refugees rebuild their lives.”

Gap Inc.’s flexibility with the donation has allowed USA for UNHCR to coordinate with field operations to respond in real-time to where needs are most pressing:

  • 4 million units have been committed for distribution in Burkina Faso, a country in the Sahel region of Africa which is facing one of the fastest growing displacement crises in the world. Intense and largely indiscriminate violence perpetrated by armed actors against civilians have forced more than 2.7 million people to flee across the region, both within countries and across borders—including more than 1 million displaced persons in Burkina Faso alone. Regular shipments started in October and are anticipated to be finalized by April 2021.
  • Approximately 100,000 winter jackets have been shipped to Lebanon, one of the coldest countries in the region, which hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita (approximately 1 million). The economic downturn, steep inflation, COVID-19 and the Beirut blast have pushed Syrian refugees to the brink, with thousands of families sinking further into poverty and vulnerability. Nine out of 10 Syrian refugees are living in extreme poverty.
  • 56,000 winter jackets and clothing to displaced families hosted in different communities in Armenia were airlifted by The UPS Foundation, a long-term partner of USA for UNHCR, in January 2021. While a ceasefire agreement has been implemented in the region since November 2020, humanitarian needs remain high and 90 percent of the refugees (or people in a refugee-like situation) are women and children.

The remaining 1.8+ million units of clothing will be distributed in 2021 to refugees and other vulnerable populations living in regions with critical needs. 

The scale of the Gap Inc. donation led to a new partnership between USA for UNHCR and Good360, a charitable organization whose mission is to help companies donate excess merchandise to charities instead of destroying it or selling it for pennies on the pound. This partnership and the transformational support from Gap Inc., has created a more sustainable model to address the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 around responsible consumption and production and meet the immediate needs of refugees through clothing donations. USA for UNHCR is now seeking additional partners to expand this program. 

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About USA for UNHCR

USA for UNHCR protects refugees and empowers them with hope and opportunity. Supporting UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – and its partners, we provide lifesaving essentials including shelter, water, food, safety and protection. Around the world, we help refugees survive, recover and build a better future. Established by concerned American citizens, USA for UNHCR is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.UNrefugees.org.

About Gap Inc.

Gap Inc., a collection of purpose-led lifestyle brands, is the largest American specialty apparel company offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Old NavyGapBanana RepublicAthletaIntermix, and Janie and Jack brands. The company uses omni-channel capabilities to bridge the digital world and physical stores to further enhance its shopping experience. Gap Inc. is guided by its purpose, Inclusive, by Design, and takes pride in creating products and experiences its customers love while doing right by its employees, communities, and planet. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. Fiscal year 2020 net sales were $13.8 billion. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.

Mar 10 2021
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