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26 Shirts continues to grow, raise for charity during pandemic

26 Shirts

26 Shirts, a sports apparel designer, and its founder Del Reid have developed a charitable reputation. Even during a pandemic, they’ve managed to break company records, all the meanwhile raising money for those in need.

When the Toronto Blue Jays announced they’d be playing at Sahlen Field, 26 Shirts saw an opportunity to sell shirts and caps of a Buffalo themed Blue Jays logo.

“So we threw something together and received a response that we did not expect,” said 26 Shirts founder Del Reid.

The response Reid is referring to? More than 6,600 sales that equated to over $50,000 dollars for charity.

“So the $8 donation, per shirt or hat, is being split between these two charities. And we're just really excited,” Reid said. “We thought it was a good idea to include Buffalo and Toronto as they are kind of sharing the team.”

FeedMore WNY and Community Food Centres Canada are each receiving $26,000. That’s the largest amount 26 Shirts has ever donated. You would think given the pandemic things would slow down. It’s something Reid thought about in March.

“If sales were to slow down, because of all these unforeseen consequences and all this stuff that people aren't planning for, where would we be?” asked Reid. “What would we be able to do? And it hasn't slowed down at all. Western New York, we're known as the city of good neighbors for a reason. And I really believe that the majority of our sales come not just from the great designs that we put on the shirts that we're very proud of, but also more so the desire to help people in need.”

Reid said they essentially have a wait list of people that are looking for assistance from them. Now it’s a matter of meeting demand, which is growing faster than their release schedule every two weeks.

“I just want to say thank you to everybody who continues to believe in and support 26 Shirts,” Nick Lippa. “It's fun to make all these different shirts and put them out there on the internet for people to purchase and everything. But this idea doesn't work unless people believe in the mission.”

The Blue Jays start their 2020 Buffalo season this Tuesday. In a city that would be celebrating festival after festival in a non-pandemic setting this time of year, the unique circumstance that has brought Major League Baseball to the region is something worth celebrating for residents of Western New York.

“I mentioned to somebody recently that I guess I'm not surprised, because Buffalo was a sports driven city. And then the person I was speaking with said, ‘No, Buffalo is an event driven city.’ So this is something really cool,” Reid said. “The MLB team is going to be playing its games right downtown next to the water. It kind of sucks that none of us can actually see it, but I think a lot of us are kind of used to not getting things lately. It's definitely going to be a unique footnote in Buffalo history and Blue Jays history, but so it's nice that people can actually get something to commemorate it a little bit while doing good at the same time.”

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.