Planting Seeds of Good on Comcast Cares Day
This year, more than 100,000 Comcast NBCUniversal volunteers in 21 countries will make change happen in hundreds of communities where our employees live and work during our 16th Comcast Cares Day. Our volunteers mentor children and share professional skills to support the needs of nonprofit groups, as well as help improve parks, schools, beaches, senior centers and other vital community sites around the world. The day truly comes to life thanks to the dedication of our employees. Read below about the positive difference being made by our team in New Hampshire.
In 2013, David Mason had a seedling of an idea. The dad of three boys – now ages 5, 7 and 10 – he overheard a friend of a friend talking about planting enough vegetables in a small garden to feed his entire community. Increasingly aware of his own family’s healthy eating habits and sustainable living, the idea stuck with him.
A short time later, David, now in his 12th year at Comcast, learned some of his colleagues had spent their Comcast Cares Day building a garden on the grounds of a local Easterseals, a nonprofit Comcast partner that helps children and adults with disabilities. "I thought, if they could do this in their backyard, why can’t we?"
Fast forward to last year, and David found himself leading a Comcast Cares Day project in Manchester, N.H., growing healthy food right at the Comcast office where he works and later delivering it to a local food bank that partners with more than 400 agencies to feed residents statewide.
David Mason rallies volunteers during Comcast Cares Day.
This year, he is doing it all over again.
"It was really cool to see our hard work pay off," said David, an IT billing systems manager. "There was a lot of trial and error, but at the end of the season we helped people and we gave back."
It wasn’t easy. Though there are ample trees and bushes behind the Comcast office, and also a nature trail, the space wasn’t exactly right for gardening. So they installed a new water line, hooked up a sprinkler system – and worked with a core group of employees who stepped up to volunteer to care for the garden.
On Comcast Cares Day last year, about 90 volunteers participated, including several dozen employees from various business units – including IT, marketing and engineering – who work at David’s same office. They built eight garden beds that are each 4-feet by 12-feet – and by the end of the summer they grew 480 pounds worth of vegetables, mostly squash.
"Dave Mason’s enthusiasm for building raised bed gardens and growing fresh produce for those in need in New Hampshire is contagious!" said Nancy Mellitt, director of development at the New Hampshire Food Bank, which received all the produce. She said the team’s efforts provided 1,920 servings of nutritious vegetables.
The tough New England winter, though, took a toll on the garden – and so did a local groundhog. Come Comcast Cares Day this year, on April 22, volunteers will be repairing a fence, mixing compost into the soil, and painting to make the garden beds more attractive. And they are aiming to grow lighter vegetables – carrots.
"Volunteering and giving back is important to me. It’s something my mom instilled in me when I was younger," said David, who also mentors an 8th grader as a longtime "big brother" with Comcast’s Beyond School Walls program.
"I love that our senior leaders encourage us to give back at work," David said. "They make it so easy to go get out and help the community… So for me to be able to speak my idea and have it come true – it’s huge."