Last Friday afternoon, the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club teamed up with the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation, Memphis Grizzlies player Mike Conley (and his “Shoe Up!” effort), and the nonprofit, Samaritan’s Feet, to give more than 200 local youth new socks and Under Armour shoes. Over 140 business and community leaders, along with college and high school student volunteers, joined Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies staff in playing with the children, washing their feet, lacing up their new shoes, and most importantly, sharing lots of laughter and love.
This was our sixth year to partner with the Memphis Grizzlies and Samaritan’s Feet ( samaritansfeet.org), an organization working in 75 countries to provide new shoes to the 1.5 billion people worldwide who currently face foot-born infection and diseases. Through these events, we’ve been able to bless thousands of local kids; but, if you ask any volunteer about the experience, he or she will say the blessing goes both ways because the joy of giving is powerful!
Personally, I’ve seen kids completely speechless at the sight of their first NEW pair of shoes; seen a deaf child walk in hopeless and leave the event beaming after befriending an adult volunteer, who was also deaf and associated with a support group; and witnessed friendships formed between corporate executives and inner-city youth who pray together.
Last Friday’s event had countless inspirational and touching moments; but after reflecting on the afternoon, two separate conversations with volunteers stood out. Both made a point to acknowledge not only how much fun they were having, but also how much they appreciated their employer giving them the support to give back during the workday. In fact, both stated they had selected their companies (two different companies) based on the charitable efforts and priority given to community service. One professional added that he turned down a more financially lucrative offer to work for a company where he saw his CEO as a servant leader, volunteering with nonprofits.
We’re at a time where we need everyone to pitch in and help make our community stronger. These conversations reveal the power of not only being present in our giving back efforts, but also, in lending our support and the flexibility to do so with our employees, who appreciate the opportunities.