Stories

Meet Our Charities: Ocean Defender’s Alliance

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By Emma, Buffalo Exchange HQ

 

One of the things that makes Buffalo Exchange unique is our stores’ ongoing support of local charities through our Tokens for Bags® program. Instead of giving out plastic bags, we give out charity tokens with each purchase. These give our customers the chance to support a range of local non-profits that help out animals, individuals in the local community and the environment each time they shop. What can we say? Giving back is important to us! Since starting the program in 1994, we’ve kept over 15.4 million plastic bags out of the environment and raised more than $774,365 for thousands of local non-profits.

 

At Buffalo Exchange Costa Mesa, one of the many charities we’re supporting this year is the Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA). Since it was founded in 2000, ODA has worked hard to protect ocean wildlife and their habitats from abandoned fishing gear, pollution and more.

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A Community Effort

Protecting our oceans takes a village and no one understands that better than the Ocean Defenders Alliance. Not only do they keep an eye on regular commercial fishing locations that tend to accumulate abandoned gear, but they also have a large network of divers and community supporters who notify them when they find cast-off gear and improperly sunken vessels. This allows them to devote more of their time to actually cleaning up debris!

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Cleaning Up Our Seas

Using their custom-outfitted vessels, ODA regularly heads out into the ocean to take care of business. Their divers work to free sea life and collect debris. They recycle anything they can and properly dispose of everything else. While they’re out on the water, ODA also works with the California Department of Fish and Game, the Coast Guard and many other agencies to maximize their efforts.

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Education and Outreach

ODA’s job isn’t over when they make it back to land, though. When the organization isn’t out actively cleaning up the ocean, they’re reaching out in any way possible to educate people on the repercussions that man-made pollution has on our oceans and the ways we can make a positive difference. They go to schools, clubs, conferences and anywhere they think they can make an impact.

 

Since they started, the Ocean Defenders Alliance has removed tens of thousands of pounds of man-made debris from the ocean, all while doing whatever they can to prevent it from winding up there in the first place. We are proud to support ODA in their efforts to take care of our oceans. When you shop at Buffalo Exchange Costa Mesa through the end of the year, you can help make a difference for the Ocean Defenders Alliance just by placing your token in their charity box. Stop in to shop for a cause!

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