In Nashville, Rain Can’t Stop a Caring Community

Story and photos by Justin Stokes

You can’t have good summer fun without a little #SpringClean—especially not in an area like Davidson County, where the surrounding beauty can easily be tarnished by litterbugs.

On Saturday, April 29, a few hundred volunteers gave up the chance to sleep in on the weekend in favor of beautifying their community as part of the 16th annual Comcast Cares Day: “Comcast NBCUniversal’s companywide celebration of their year-round commitment to service and the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort in the country.”

The weekend pitch-in called for a citywide cleanup involving more than 150 people that consisted of Comcast employees, Metro Nashville Public Works volunteers and those generally concerned about the health and beauty of Nashville. The event also tied into a civic decree from Mayor Megan Barry and the City of Nashville for the second annual volunteer Spring Clean project.

Volunteers hard at work.

Volunteers hard at work.

According to the city’s website, “Metro Beautification, a Division of Metro Public Works, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods and Community Engagement plans and executes biannual litter collection and beautification efforts. Last year, these efforts resulted in 580 cleanups and over 644 tons of litter and illegal dumping picked up from Nashville’s streets, alleys and streams.”

Comcast Cares Day was originally planned for April 22 (Earth Day) but was postponed because of weather safety concerns. Volunteers at project sites such as Napier Elementary School and the Adventure Science Center spent four hours mulching, picking up litter and generally beautifying the areas.

Sharon Smith, Director of Metro Beautification within Public Works, was one of the volunteers on-hand for Saturday’s cleanup. She expressed her gratitude to the people who were willing to put their weekend plans aside in order to help out.

“I just want to thank you all for being here on behalf of Metro Public Works and Mayor Barry… The Mayor does not like litter. Which is good. None of us like litter. But she cares very much about how our city looks,” Smith said as she addressed the crowd of green-shirted volunteers.

“In this area of Nashville back about a month ago, [Mayor Barry] drove through here and met with some of the folks at the Napier Place housing development and asked them ‘What would make a difference in your community?’ Everybody told her ‘We have a lot of litter and illegal dumping.’ So this project today is very important to the Mayor because the community was concerned. Anything that we can do to pick it up is going to improve the quality of life for the people living here.”

Kim Sasser Hayden, Senior Manager of External Affairs at Comcast, shared excitement over the efforts. “There are 23 projects in Middle Tennessee with over a thousand volunteers who are employees, their families, and our community partners,” she said. “So we’re really excited about the impact and difference we’re able to make on our 16th Comcast Cares Day here in Nashville.”

As the Adventure Science Center is both a community partner of Comcast and a space that generously serves itself to the community, Hayden stressed the importance of keeping it clean. Acts like painting the picnic tables for school groups or making sure the grass is free of cigarette butts helps keep the facility in pristine condition.

Curious about how you can give back to your community and make the world a better place? Check Comcast’s community service platform, and see how the organization supports causes like the TODAY Toy Drive and the United Way. 

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