2BigFeet.com donates 300 masks to TCSS teachers

Published 1:30 pm Thursday, August 13, 2020

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Last week, Tracy Eley posted in a Facebook group offering free cloth masks to Troup County School System teachers. She and her husband, Brandon Eley, received an “overwhelming” response, quickly running out after giving away 300 masks.

“They’re going to have to wear these five days a week, all day long, so we just wanted to do something to help them be a little more prepared,” Brandon Eley said.

The Eleys received the masks for their shoe business, 2BigFeet.com, which specializes in selling large shoes, primarily online. The masks are manufactured by Keen, a footwear company known for their sandals and hiking boots. 

The company previously donated more than 250 KN95 masks to local government employees and first responders. In purchasing the Keen masks, the Eleys had planned to give some to friends and family, selling the leftover supply on 2BigFeet.com. 

“Even the manufacturer is selling out, so we won’t have any in the next few weeks,” Eley said. 

The masks are black, cloth reusable masks and come in packs of two, meaning 150 teachers received two masks each. They are made with two layers of Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton canvas and feature adjustable ear slides. The masks are not medical grade, but Eley said he thinks they are good for everyday use due to their comfort and ability to be machine washed and dried. 

“They don’t make a seal like N95s, but they fog [glasses] less and are comfortable to wear for a long time,” Eley said, adding that he and his employees have been wearing them for weeks and found them to be the most comfortable masks they have tried.

With a retail value of about $14 for a pack of two, the value of the masks donated by 2BigFeet.com is more than $2,000.

The Eleys have two children currently enrolled at LaGrange High School, so the issue of campus safety during the pandemic hits close to home. Eley said he and his wife had received many photos from teachers wearing their masks as they prepare for the first day of school on Aug. 17.

“We were just trying to do something for the teachers. They’re probably dealing with a lot right now,” Eley said. “Judging by all the photos they’ve been sending in, they really appreciated them.”