(from United Soybean Board)

U.S. Soy is helping bring comfort to health care professionals who are working tirelessly on the frontlines during COVID-19. Okabashi, an American company that counts on U.S. soy for all its sandals, pledged to donate up to 10,000 pairs of soy-based sandals to health care workers for every order placed through its website or Zappos.

“We’ve already donated over 5,000 pairs so far, and still counting!” said Okabashi President Kim Falkenhayn. “We are sending them all over the country. Now more than ever, we’re all in this together.”

Only 2% of shoe companies operate in the U.S., and Okabashi is proud to source American materials, including U.S.-grown soybean oil. Okabashi committed to producing their footwear with sustainable and renewable materials using soybean oil to displace petroleum. The company’s shoes are approximately 45% U.S. soy by weight. U.S. Soy meets Okabashi’s high standards for performance, offering both strength and softness, as well as qualified them to be recognized as a USDA Certified Biobased Product in the USDA’s BioPreferred Program.

With large-scale soybean production in the U.S. — U.S. soybean farmers produced more than 11 million metric tons of soybean oil in 2018 alone — Okabashi has the reliable supply of materials they need for this large-scale donation.

Customers can purchase a pair of soy sandals for themselves and write a note of encouragement to a health care worker who will receive a pair directly from Okabashi with the personal message. The soy checkoff is proud to recognize a U.S. soy customer that is donating soy-based products to the health care sector. The health care and agriculture industries share a commitment to the safety and security of our communities, while bolstering our economy during these difficult times.

“It’s neat to see the soybeans I grow not only being used in a unique way that supports demand for our product, but also to support frontline workers during this crisis,” said soy checkoff farmer-leader Belinda Burrier. “It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to grow soybeans. It shows the importance of continuing to look for new ways that U.S. Soy and our partners can give back to communities across the country.”

This donation is just one of the many that U.S. Soy is proud to be a part of. With other partners, soybean farmers have helped provide meals of U.S. pork to food-insecure families through the Drive to Feed Kids program and bottles of soy-based hand sanitizer to the New York City Fire Department, facilitated by the National Biodiesel Board. The New York Corn and Soybean Growers and SYNLawn, a company that uses U.S. soy in its artificial grass, also joined NBB and the New York Fire Department Incident Management Team to provide hundreds of meals from New York restaurants to firefighters, dispatchers, mechanics and other essential employees.

“These donations showcase not only the versatility and growing industrial uses the soybean checkoff is working to secure for our farmers, but also the sense of community U.S. Soy has with these partners,” said USB Vice President of Communications and Marketing Strategy Mace Thornton. “We’ve made it a priority to leverage these partnerships and collaborations to expand the use of soybean oil and step up in times of need.”