NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - When it comes to having boots on the ground and helping the community Soles 4 Souls is that organization.

It's a non-profit that collects shoes and gives them out to needy families in Nashville and across the globe.

"Our goal is to have about 3,000 to 4,000 shoes available for Metro Nashville schools. We’ll keep them all here,” Buddy Teaster said.

Teaster, the President and CEO of Soles 4 Souls, said the agency is doing OK in terms of donations this year, but they're worried about the little ones that they serve, especially in the months ahead.

"We've seen people, they don't have anything for a winter coat," Teaster said. "So we're really worried, and kids are going to be hugely affected by that, they always are."

The trials and challenges of the pandemic are playing a major role and a toll on many families.

"The layers of the last few months of pandemic, economy, do you go back to school, can parents work, are you an essential worker?" Teaster said. "I don't think in my time at Soles 4 Souls, in the eight years I've been here, never seen anything this complicated."

At the Nashville Rescue Mission, leaders are also noticing a dire need for assistance, mainly from the working poor.

"The biggest area for us, we're seeing an uptick, are people that are losing their jobs," Glenn Cranfield, President of Nashville Rescue Mission, said. "A lot of our folks are in the service industry. As kitchen managers, waiters and waitresses, and working in hotels and so forth. So when those places are shut down, then they have no income."

Cranfield said the number of children receiving help is not as high as it usually is.

"We generally have 60 to 75 kids below the age of 18. right now we're down to about 25," Cranfield said. "I'm just hoping that the apartments and the leasing situations that people are able to stay in those homes."

He worries about the months ahead.

"There's this study that's been done by one of the universities in the New England area that said they're expecting homelessness to increase about 40 to 45 percent on the back end of COVID-19," Cranfield said. "We are doing everything we can to think about that, to prepare for that and to let people know that we're here."

Both Nashville Rescue Mission and Soles 4 Souls are always looking for volunteers and donations.

If you'd like to help or need assistance, click the links below:


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