On April 21, more than 3,000 Comcast NBCUniversal employees, along with their families, friends and community partners, will contribute to 27 different volunteer projects across Washington state as part of the company’s 17th annual Comcast Cares Day.
Comcast Cares Day is the largest corporate day of service in the United States, with this year’s efforts marking the one millionth volunteer participant. This year, the company expects more than 100,000 volunteers to participate at project sites around the world.
More than half of this year’s projects in Washington will directly support those living without shelter or who are in transitional housing. Comcast volunteers will sort donations at the Everett Food Bank, construct a portable computer lab at Mary’s Place in Seattle, pack hygiene kits for Spokane’s Union Gospel Mission Crisis Shelter for Women and Children and craft blankets for the Tacoma Rescue Mission, among other projects across the state.
Comcast chose to address the pressing issue of homelessness because it impacts nearly every community in the state. According to 2017 figures from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, King County’s homeless population is the third largest in the U.S. Out of an estimated 11,643 homeless people, 47.1 percent are unsheltered, meaning they live in a vehicle, tent or on the street. This is a 21 percent increase over 2016 figures that is only expected to grow in 2018 due to the rising cost of living.
Since its inception in 2001, Comcast Cares Day volunteers have contributed more than 5 million service hours at more than 18,800 projects. Here in Washington, many of this year’s Comcast Cares Day projects are in partnership with local organizations working to meet these community members’ basic needs and help them get back on their feet.
Comcast employees live and work in the neighborhoods they’re serving. “More than 4,700 employees call Washington home, and giving back to our own communities means a lot to us,” said Amy Lynch, regional vice president of Comcast’s Washington region. “This year, we’re particularly eager to work alongside our community partners to help ensure that people from all walks have access to the resources, services and technology that can help improve their quality of life.”
Mary’s Place – a key partner
One of those community partners is Mary’s Place, a Seattle non-profit providing emergency food, shelter and resources for homeless women, children and families. In 2016 the organization provided 100,781 overnight stays, and served 222,445 meals to those in need, according to its annual report.
“Our work at Mary’s Place could not happen without the generous contributions of our corporate partners like Comcast,” said Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place. “Comcast Cares Day is an especially gratifying event for us, when we get to see hundreds of Comcast employees roll up their sleeves and help us deliver the services that hundreds of families count on. Their efforts underscore what an important part of the community Comcast has become.”
Comcast Cares Day is a testament to Comcast NBCUniversal’s commitment to volunteerism in its communities, which has been a major focus of the company since it was founded more than 50 years ago. From using technology to enable creativity, to mentoring youth, to beautifying parks, Comcast employees volunteer on this day, and throughout the year, to create positive change where they live and work.
Comcast Cares Day Projects in Washington State
Central Park Elementary School: Volunteers will work with Central Park Elementary students and local Eagle Scouts to help build a garden where students can grow plants as part of their science curriculum. Volunteers will also help with painting, landscaping and other beautification around the campus as a prep for the school’s upcoming Grandparents’ Day event.
Nexus Youth & Families: Volunteers will help support local families and youth through a wide array of projects. Volunteers will help spread bark, clean out flower beds and beautify the outdoor area surrounding the facility. Others will work on clearing out or reorganizing various buildings for future use, including the Arcadia House – a facility designed to support local homeless youth. Volunteers will also organize and package food, clothing and hygiene packets for the homeless, while other groups will help cook and prepare meals that will later be used to feed the homeless. Finally, a group of volunteers will help accept donated food, hygiene products and gently used teen and young adult clothing.
Little Squalicum Park: Volunteers will help Bellingham Parks with the restoration of Little Squalicum Park. Teams of volunteers will work to improve habitat and water quality in Little Squalicum Creek by removing invasive plants, planting natives and mulching.
Light House Mission: Volunteers will create hygiene kits for the men’s shelter by filling Xfinity shoe bags with items such as new underwear and socks, deodorant and soap.
Bremerton Foodline: Volunteers will help with landscaping and beautification of the grounds surrounding the Bremerton Food Line, a service that helps provide food to families in need in Kitsap County. Groups will clean planter boxes that are used to grow vegetables, prune trees, and perform other general landscaping of the grounds. Comcast employees will also be holding a Comcast employee food drive for the organization as well.
Interfaith Association of NW Washington Shelter: Volunteers will help make the Interfaith Association shelter a comfortable space for those who are working to get back on their feet. Volunteers will clean, organize and paint the common areas, while others will work on general landscaping of the grounds and the vegetable gardens. Volunteers will also help renovate the children’s outdoor areas.
City of Everett Parks Department: Volunteers from the Everett area will partner with the City of Everett Parks Department to clean up Lowell Riverfront Trail. Volunteer groups will pick up trash, remove invasive species, clear overgrowth, and plant native species along the trail, which runs along the Snohomish River.
Everett Food Bank: Volunteers will help sort and pack food for those in need in the area, including individuals from working households, families on unemployment, or those on fixed incomes who struggle to make ends meet.
Farmer Frog: Volunteers will help the organization in its mission to cultivate community gardening and education programs. Teams of volunteers will work on the Aquaponics plumbing systems used at local schools, organize pallet boxes for new areas at the farm, help construct shelving, build trails for the newly opened forest area, plant and pot native fruit trees, seeds, and other fruit plants, and more.
Friends of Youth: Volunteers will beautify and revitalize the main campus and housing area at Friends of Youth, which provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and programs to help homeless youth get the resources and skills they need to attain personal growth and success. Volunteer groups will weed and landscape the grounds, clean the inside of the facility, and help sort and organize donations to help enhance the living facilities for the homeless youth that utilize these services.
Operation Gratitude: Volunteers will support Operation Gratitude’s mission to lift spirits and meet the evolving needs of the U.S. Military and First Responder communities. Volunteers will work to complete hundreds of personal letters of appreciation and colorful drawings to include in care packages that will be sent to deployed troops, veterans, new recruits and first responders.
YWCA of Olympia: Volunteers will update and refresh Kathleen’s Clubhouse, a gathering space used for the YWCA’s Girls Without Limits, Youth Advisory Board, and Women’s Economic Empowerment Programs. Volunteers will paint, repair, clean and re-organize the space for better use.
City of Puyallup: Volunteers will collaborate with the City of Puyallup and local Boy Scout Troop 274 to help clean up, beautify and revitalize the area along 112th Street in the South Hill neighborhood in Puyallup. As part of the effort, the group will spread bark and plant more than 70 trees.
Mary’s Place & United Way of King County: Volunteers will help support Mary’s Place’s mission of providing food, shelter and resources for homeless women, children and families. Groups will participate in projects ranging from interior and exterior painting, parking lot beatification, landscaping and community garden creation, renovation of the Kids Club, construction of a portable computer lab, WiFi installation, building welcome home and new mom kits, and sorting donations.
El Centro de la Raza: Volunteers will be partnering with El Centro de la Raza to care for two of their transitional housing properties. Groups will be painting fences, doing general yard work and adding small touches of home for these families.
Food Lifeline: Volunteers will work with Food Lifeline staff to sort and repack thousands of pounds of food the organization rescues from waste.
YouthCare: Groups of volunteers will serve meals at Youth Care’s Orion Center to help youth on the street that cannot afford a hot meal. Additionally, other groups of volunteers will help will clean bathrooms, showers and common areas and will also plant flowers, lay mulch and bark around flowerbeds and trees at one of the YouthCare centers.
Asian Counseling & Referral Service Food Bank: Volunteers will help set up and prepare containers and bags of food items for the Asian Counseling & Referral Service Food Bank. Other volunteer groups will help distribute food at their food bank in Seattle’s Chinatown International District.
Union Gospel Mission: Volunteers will put together toiletry bags for the Union Gospel Mission’s Crisis Shelter for Women and Children. After the project, volunteers and local families will watch a movie and eat pizza at the facility.
Centennial Trail: Volunteers will work with the Friends of the Centennial Trail to clean up the Spokane River Centennial Trail, adjacent parklands and connecting trails.
Second Harvest: Volunteers will sort and pack food at the Second Harvest warehouse to help support their mission to feed people in need.
Spokane House: Volunteers will work to improve Spokane House, a historic fur-trade-era trading post and the earliest permanent non-Indian settlement in Washington state. Volunteers will meet at this historic location to paint, mow the grounds, and clean up winter debris.
291 Boat Launch: Volunteers will meet at the 291 Boat launch, a 25-mile reservoir located on Lake Spokane, to help remove debris and overgrowth from several trails leading from the launch area. Others will help paint the restrooms and repair a central bulletin board and other nearby signage.
Humane Society: Volunteers will help improve the Tacoma Humane Society’s dog run areas and will help lay new bark, plant flowers and remove invasive species.
Tacoma Rescue Mission: Volunteers will help make no-sew blankets and 700 essential care and hygiene kits to donate to the Tacoma Rescue Mission.
MetroParks Tacoma–Titlow Park: Volunteers will help weed, remove invasive species, repair gravel trails and picnic tables, and clean the beach, among other general cleanup and maintenance at Titlow Park.
MetroParks Tacoma–Swan Creek: Volunteers will work with MetroParks to revitalize the bike trail of Swan Creek on the East Side of Tacoma and clear blackberry bushes, scotch broom and other invasive species.