Editor's note: Jim Spellman is CNN's all platform journalist in Denver, Colorado. He shares this story about Shay Kelley, a woman he profiled earlier this year. After the profile ran on CNN.com, Kelley's project to travel to 50 states and feed and document the homeless grew exponentially.
From Jim Spellman, CNN
A year ago Shay Kelley lost her job, then her home. She says she asked God
what to do and the answer became Project 50/50.
She set out on the road in a pick-up truck named Bubba with her border collie, Zuzu, to travel to all 50 states in 50 weeks, collecting canned food for the homeless and photographing the people she met along the way.
Since the story ran, her Facebook page has grown from having about 1,000 followers to having more than 12,000.
As Kelley continues her journey, many of her followers have responded to her strong spiritual message by posting words of encouragement on her Facebook page.
The CNN Belief Blog asked her to reflect on getting old-fashioned spiritual
healing through some distinctly new-fangled technology. Here's an update from Shay on her faith and the latest about the project:
When CNN aired the story about Project 50/50, I had no idea that hundreds of thousands of people would read the story. I also didn’t know that 12,000 of them would find me on Facebook and reach out to me through messages, comments, and e-mails.
In one weekend, as I drove across the state of Nebraska, I watched as this whole project expanded. What I find the most beautiful is that people aren’t joining a "fan club." They are using this opportunity to jump-start an idea they’ve had in their own lives. This project is an example of how faith works, and I am an advocate of a lifestyle that puts God at the center of our decisions.
The outpouring of encouragement and spiritual affirmation that takes place on the Project 50/50 page on Facebook has less to do with the actual project and more to do with all of these individuals expressing their desire to be a leader and an inspiration to others.
Every morning now, there are at least two people who post scriptures or quotes that will put everything in perspective, and whenever someone posts a prayer request or a story that demonstrates love, a hundred people are there to back them up with a word of prayer or supportive encouragement.
This project is an amazing personal experience, and it has been beautiful to see God’s great country, one state at a time. Even more beautiful still is the gift of witnessing people reach out to each other in love. I know that this project is going to be much bigger than just this year. Not because of me, Bubba or Zuzu, but because of the amazing individuals out there who have made the choice to share our struggles and triumphs with each other and work toward the greater good.
This world will be a lovely place with God at the center of all of it, and it’s time to highlight the beauty and pay it forward. We’re starting with us.