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russian soldier text to mother
Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash

'Mama, I'm in Ukraine. There is a real war raging here. I'm afraid…'

In his final moments, a fallen Russian soldier reached out to his mother. His words are full of regret, confusion and fear.

The text reads:

Mama, I'm in Ukraine. There is a real war raging here. I'm afraid. We are bombing all of the cities together, even targeting civilians. We were told that they would welcome us, and they are falling under our armored vehicles, throwing themselves under the wheels, and not allowing us to pass. They call us fascists. Mama, this is so hard.”

This was after his mother worriedly asked about his whereabouts, why he hadn’t responded to her. She wanted to send her son a package, something to bring the comfort of home. You know, like moms do. She’ll never get to send that package. Or see her boy again. Only minutes later, he was killed.


A transcript of their conversation was read aloud by Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya in front of the U.N. General Assembly as an earnest call to “visualize the magnitude or tragedy” caused by Russia’s invasion.

And the tragedy is indeed massive. This is an act of violence and corruption that leaves both the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia as rubble in the fallout. While the streets of Ukraine fill with the smell of smoke and sound of gunshots, cities in Russia are filling up with anti-war protestors, many who have been detained despite peaceful demonstration. It's a huge risk, one with severe consequences.

Even the Russian soldiers, like the man mentioned above, are victims in their own right. Earlier on Monday, the MFA of Ukraine's Twitter account posted, “Russia promised its soldiers they would be greeted in Ukraine with flowers. Russia has been lying for years about how the Ukraine authorities are keeping Ukrainian people in 'captivity'.”

In a country where only government-sanctioned, Putin-approved propaganda is allowed in the media, Russians by and large are being fed one grossly illegitimate narrative. Namely, that Ukraine is a dictatorship and that Russia’s use of force is a necessary and defensive act. With that kind of coerced vitriol, it’s no wonder that half the population voted that military force was justified.

This young man was made to believe he'd be doing something heroic, and he died under that illusion. And he is one of many.

And yet, in the chaos of misinformation, the words of this dying man offer a sobering dose of brutal reality that shoots straight to the heart. The losses caused by this attack are irrefutable and irrevocable. It is a horror happening on both sides. Russia itself is not the enemy here. Deception, greed and the brutality of an immoral leader are to blame.

More sons and daughters will be lost. More mothers and fathers will wonder whether that next text message will be the last. The real tragedy of war is that it destroys while promising reconstruction.There are no victors, only survivors.

This is only the newest incident that sheds a light on the devastating effect of the “us versus them” mentality. As we continue to read gut-wrenching headlines, it's important to quiet the voice that longs to demonize an entire people for the lack of virtue of one man (and his followers). Just as it is important to practice good social media hygiene during these times, it is crucial to practice empathy. In a time of mindless violence and toxic division tactics, connection is one of the few things truly worth fighting for.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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