Soles 4 Souls is sending shoes and clothes to Ukrainian refugees

Soles 4 Souls
Posted at 5:06 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 21:50:21-05

OLD HICKORY, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Soles 4 Souls warehouse in Old Hickory may be thousands of miles from Ukraine, but for their employees, the war still hits close to home.

"That there was an entire society that has been uprooted and disrupted, and I can’t help but feel for those people," said Matthew Dowdell, Soles 4 Souls director of North American Warehouse and Logistics.

Instead of grieving, the Nashville-based nonprofit received thousands of boxes of shoes and clothing. Soon, shipments will go to Moldova and Poland, the two European countries currently hosting the most Ukrainian refugees.

"The shoes they are handling and touching have a direct impact on somebody’s life," Dowdell said.

Soles 4 Souls is known for its donated items, and rightfully so. The refugees in Ukraine will actually receive brand new shoes, clothes and underwear.

"We want them to have something that is their own," said Jamie Ellis, Soles 4 Soles vice president of marketing and communications.

To recruit corporations to donate these items, the CEO of the nonprofit is currently at a trade show in Washington D.C. It turns out, all he had to do was ask.

"The fact that our corporate partners have been like that to respond just says the whole world is lined up on this," said Buddy Teaster, CEO of Soles 4 Souls.

If only shipping was that easy.

The supply chain crisis has added thousands of dollars in expenses, which is where generosity can come into play.

"We are asking people if they want to help underwrite the cost of shipping. That’s an easy way to get involved," Teaster said.

Because when a war this far away hits so close to home, it feels good when there's something those in Middle Tennessee can do.

"This is such a great opportunity to take what we do and put it directly in action," Ellis said.

Boots and cold weather shoe wear is also being donated to soldiers on the frontlines in Ukraine.

For those who would like to make a monetary donation or learn more about their program, click here.