Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Volunteer Gives Heart and Soles

When Karen Shannon's boss asked her and other employees at the Vanderbilt University Recreation Center to consider taking on a charitable project, it wasn't hard for Shannon to figure out what to do.

An active member of Greater Grace Temple Church, Shannon has long helped food pantries and homeless shelters. Shannon had been listening to radio spots for Soles4Souls in Nashville and decided to do a drive of her own.

She was provided with two collection bins. Shannon worked with Vanderbilt's camp director to get children and their parents involved in the effort. Within a few weeks, Shannon found her office packed with 12 large, stuffed garbage bags full of sneakers, sandals, house slippers, loafers and tennis shoes for children and adults.

"I didn't expect it to go this well," Shannon said. "But a lot of the parents as well as the children — I guess they looked at as a good idea and they just ran with it. It was so easy."

And that, said Shannon, is one of the lessons learned about putting her faith into action. Doing charitable work can be simple, easy and make a real difference. Shannon is no stranger to volunteering and said she is motivated by her faith and compassion for those less fortunate.

"It was actually pretty easy," she said. "I just went to Soles4Souls Web site, submitted an e-mail for more information about how to get involved and someone e-mailed me back the same the day. I never expected to get 12 bags of shoes with so little effort."

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