NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – When Chris Hardy and Rachel Trammell of Justice and Mercy International in Nashville saw the devastation in Ukraine, they knew no matter how far they had to go to Moldova – a nation the size of Maryland, now teeming with thousands of refugees from the war-torn country.
“Our staff on the ground, I have to hand it to them, the day the invasion started, they said how can we help?” said Rachel Trammell of Justice and Mercy International.
While the Moldovan government runs several refugee camps, with such an influx from Ukraine, many camps are makeshift.
“Sometimes it’s the basement of a church or an old hospital that no longer works,” Trammell said.
Justice and Mercy International was able to distribute everything from food and mattresses to hygiene bags.
Ukrainian men have been ordered to stay in the country and fight, which means most of the refugees in Moldova are women and children.
“I think the most emotional thing for me was the mothers who had to make the choice,” Trammell said.
That choice was to stay in Ukraine with their husbands or leave with their children for what one refugee told Trammel was a future that was anything but certain.
“She said she was still in shock, she said, with her baby on her hip, ‘We don’t know if we can go back, and we don’t know if we’ll ever see her father again'” , Trammell said. .
It’s a decision many of us may find difficult to understand, but Trammell said Tennessees understand more than we realize, comparing Moldovans’ desire to help Tennessees opening their homes and wallets after tornadoes ripped through the midstate.
“It’s kind of the same idea, this element of human spirit,” Trammell said.