KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — 71,000 and counting. That's how many orders the VolShop is fulfilling for its version of a homemade UT shirt designed by a boy in Florida who was bullied.
The VolShop is shipping those orders worldwide while Knoxville-based Threds, Inc. is filling them as demand is steady, if not surging.
"The way that the guys have made this work with our already full schedule has been nothing short of a miracle," said Threds, Inc. marketing director Alicia Strange. "We are cranking and working as quickly and as fast as we can to turn this out."
Threds, Inc. took on an order from the VolShop that soon turned into a project.
'"I think the moment happens every second where we think is this plateau? No way. Is this it? No way," said Strange.
But it's now much larger than that.
"It's not a project anymore, it's an absolute movement," she said.
Strange said being a small part of helping to spread the message around the world is nothing short of amazing.
"This is about complete recognition of a child who has quite frankly empowered a nation. There are kids everywhere who are more comfortable in their shoes today because of what he's done," she said.
The staff is staying busy as there's no sign of stopping anytime soon.
"I think there's an extra pep in everyone's step when they come in. This isn't a normal job, it's got something special to it," said Strange.
No matter what team you support, Strange said it's hard to not be touched by what's become of what started as just a kid making his own shirt.
"We all have a connection to this somehow. There's a little something in there that's got that 'You know what 'Go Vols.'' I think it shows a true testament to what Volunteer Spirit is about. It's just a blessing to be here and be apart of it," she said.
The one authorized version of the shirt is available through the VolShop. You can order it here.
The mother of that Florida boy asked that all of the money made from shirt sales go to a non-profit devoted to putting an end to bullying, Stomp Out Bullying.