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Comcast volunteers support Humane Society rescue efforts

By: Susan Joy Paul
October 5, 2016 Updated: October 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm
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Members of the local Comcast Cares team show up to assist at the Humane Society last winter. From left to right, Jason Wichman (kneeling, with dog), LaShawn Stephen, Robbi Lavely, Dianah Terrell-Gray, Robert Days, Adriana Wichman and Ben Martinez. Photo courtesy of Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region

Jason Wichman knows how easy it is to get caught up in the workday grind.
“We get so in depth in the day-to-day that we forget that we also have to find ways to give back to the community,” said Wichman, who manages customer loyalty for Comcast in Colorado Springs. So, when he took over his company’s community service program, Comcast Cares, Wichman jumped at the chance to do something for one of his favorite nonprofits, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.


“One of the things that we do every year is meet with a business that holds special interest to our employees,” he said, noting that HSPPR “is a special group — most of our employees share the same vision” as the organization, which is the largest shelter for homeless and abused animals in southern Colorado.


Wichman’s team at Comcast has volunteered to support the nonprofit two years in a row.


“It was an easy decision to go back,” he said, “and we look forward to helping again in 2017. Our annual event matches perfectly with Fur Ball, the biggest fund raiser for HSPPR.”


Comcast Cares Day is the largest single-day corporate volunteer event with more than 100,000 volunteers serving in 21 countries. Locally, Comcast Cares has a large turnout of volunteers for its annual day of giving.


“It was very eye opening to see the operation and understand all that HSPPR takes on,” Wichman said. “I remember the first year when I stated that we could bring several hundred volunteers if needed; I think we took a few people aback. This year was similar, and while the project to us seems small in volunteer hours, it has a huge impact on the HSPPR annual fund raiser.”


Gretchen Pressley, HSPPR community relations manager, said the nonprofit relies on the generosity of local businesses and initiatives like Comcast Cares to help out with a variety of needs.


“Throughout the year we find ourselves in need of a few extra hands, especially around our two annual fundraisers, Fur Ball and Pawtoberfest. It’s so valuable to us to have volunteer groups from local businesses offer to come in and assist us,” she said.


Pressley is always looking for new corporate and small business groups to support the events.


“Due to liability issues, unfortunately, we can’t allow volunteer groups to handle our homeless pets,” she said. “We still have lots of ways you can help the furry friends in our care.”


Pressley said groups can participate in fundraisers like the Fur Ball or Pawtoberfest, or pitch in around the HSPPR facility.


“Group volunteers do everything from making dog beds to painting rooms to doing cleanup around our facility,” she said. “We’ve also had groups spend a day making cat blankets or toys for our homeless pets and they bring in the day’s work for our furry friends to enjoy. Really, the sky’s the limit.”


HSPPR also relies on individual volunteers to fulfill its mission.


“Volunteers are at the heart of making HSPPR compassionate and caring,” Pressley said. “As a nonprofit, we rely heavily on the assistance of our caring, dedicated and hard-working volunteers.”


Wichman hopes other businesses will join in to volunteer for the HSPPR and support their annual fundraisers.


“I do it for the love of pets,” Wichman said. “We should consider how fortunate we are in this country to be able to give back. A lot of places, like HSPPR, only work because of the volunteer efforts within the community to keep them afloat.


“If you think of how important these types of business are it is vital to help out. I would highly recommend partnering with HSPPR if a company could help. Their cause is a great cause for the community.”

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