Originally created 10/07/04

Comcast volunteers pack up to feed area's needy



With the help of volunteers from Comcast, pallets of flat cardboard were quickly transformed into holiday food boxes at Golden Harvest Food Bank.

Filled with 19 nonperishable food items, the boxes will be distributed to the needy at Thanksgiving by Golden Harvest, officials said.

About 250 Comcast employees and family members spent Saturday at the food bank assisting the nonprofit organization with several large projects.

"We're going to be able to do stuff we haven't been able to do in months," said Laurie Harmon, the food bank's volunteer coordinator.

While one crew put together holiday food boxes, another crew at the Faith Food Factory, the food bank's reclamation warehouse, labeled about 20,000 cans.

"We can't distribute food until it has a label," Ms. Harmon said.

Another group spent the morning distributing food to people in an apartment complex in south Richmond County.

Comcast Cares Day is a national community service effort. The first Saturday in October has been designated by the company as a day for its employees to give back to the community. This is the fourth year of the campaign in Augusta. Comcast has about 285 employees in the area.

"We make our living here," said Bill Botham, the public relations manager for the Augusta office. "We want to give back to it. We want to make it a better place.

"We have close to 100 percent participation."

Some Comcast employees who had to work Saturday asked for an alternate date to volunteer, Mr. Botham said.

"It's a lot of fun," said Comcast employee Jack Saunders, who taped the holiday boxes at the food bank.

In past Comcast Cares days, local employees have worked at the Augusta State University Literacy Center and at the Augusta Boxing Club.

Sometimes choosing a charity to help can be a little challenging, Mr. Botham said.

"Only a few places can take 250 volunteers and keep them busy," he said.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at (803) 441-6927 or czbrackett@hotmail.com.