West Palm Beach Volunteers Come Together to Pack Essentials for 267 Children in Need

A woman is seen writing notes of encouragement.

A sincere desire to help some of South Florida’s most vulnerable children transformed into a touching volunteer event. Volunteers like Lorena Canaveras and Kenya Madison recently came together through Team UP, Comcast’s always-on national employee volunteerism program, to help children of families experiencing homelessness. They, along with 40 other volunteers, packed hygiene kids for students in Palm Beach County Schools. Canaveras said children are our future and making sure they’re set up for success is a moral imperative. She spent her time writing encouraging and uplifting notes, both in English and Spanish, to place inside the bags.

“I worked with an organization previously that helps abused, neglected and abandoned children in the community,” said Canaveras. “When I found out what today’s event was, I felt really compelled to join. I’ve been looking for ways to get involved.”

Canaveras and Madison both work at Comcast, a technology leader connecting communities across Florida to high-speed, reliable Internet. Canaveras is a Business Support Analyst. Madison is a Technical Product Sales Coordinator and co-leads Comcast Florida’s Black Employee Network. Both attended the event, was organized with the the charity Living Hungry inside Comcast’s West Palm Beach facility.

Madison radiated compassion as she neatly packed the kits. She said she felt for these students and wanted to send a clear message: the community cares.

“As a mother of two, I can’t imagine the difficulty that plagues these families especially when it comes to basic needs like where to sleep and eat,” said Madison. “I’m so happy to work for an organization that cares and provides opportunities for employees to get involved.”

A group of Team UP volunteers sit at a table and write notes. One is standing and smiling at the camera.
Madison among her fellow Team UP volunteers.

Volunteers donated the hygiene kits to nine schools including elementary, middle and high schools – to support 267 homeless students. Living Hungry representatives said it’s hard to imagine, but one in five American students are failing to thrive due to malnourishment. Mike Burke is Superintendent for the School District of Palm Beach County. He said of the 170,000 students in the district about 6,000 have experienced homelessness. Burke joined volunteers at the event.

A man standing and speaking.
Superintendent Burke thanks the volunteers for their work.

“These kids may be the last ones to tell you they need help, but the more we can make it available and remove any stigma, it really helps,” said Burke. “That’s why we greatly appreciate what you’re doing here to help us. Palm Beach County has a national reputation of affluence, but our school district is very diverse. We have areas that range from very wealthy to some that struggle with generational poverty.”

The kits, filled with personal care items and school supplies, were made possible by a financial investment from Comcast. Since 2010, Comcast has contributed over $10 million in cash and in-kind donations to non-profits, community events, sponsorships and other initiatives in Palm Beach County.

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