Rhode Island native Charles B. King, 39, followed his parents to Naples about a decade ago after having vacationed in the area for years. As a child, King was influenced by his grandparents’ kindness to stray neighborhood dogs, as his grandmother would prepare meals for them every day, “and by prepare, I mean cook,” says King, now an attorney. “At any given time, my grandparents would have two or three formerly stray dogs living in their house as pets.”
Today he shares his home with two pups of his own. “Edith and McGruff are shelter dogs. I failed at fostering both dogs in that I refused to return the animals,” he says.
Earliest philanthropic effort:
I spent a day at a soup kitchen just before Thanksgiving. I remember peeling butternut squash for eight hours, and how difficult it was afterwards to get the orange color out of my hands. The staff and patrons were so thankful for the effort. To me, it was not a big deal, but their appreciation for my small sacrifice was overwhelming.
My most rewarding week was spent outside New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I worked with other volunteers in the Best Friends Animal Society, rescuing abandoned animals from the flooded areas. A vacant field served as our animal shelter and campground. The conditions were horrendous, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It opened my eyes to how productive I can be when focused on a challenge.
Wisdom to share with young people:
Explore volunteer opportunities early in life. It may take some time to discover what you are most passionate about. Everyone should have a cause. Identify the problems you see in society and those who need support, then work to make a difference. Even if you do not have time to spend hours volunteering, you can show your support by funding others who are working to make that difference.
Words to live by:
“Root for the underdogs.” (Pun intended.)
Honors for charity work:
My rewards take the form of dog licks.
Board member and Canine Coach volunteer for the Humane Society Naples. I am proud to be part of a dedicated volunteer crew who generously give up their time every day to improve the animals’ lives. Also, my law practice involves a large amount of will and trust drafting, so I offer my services when a potential donor contacts the society with questions or legal needs.