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Rebecca Lightsey, Vivian Johnson, Samantha Merritt, and Brian Hellman build watering system for the community garden at HomeStretch / Robbin Steed
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Gannett Co. Inc., parent company of the day’s creator, USA WEEKEND Magazine, mobilized employees in 100 communities it serves from Guam to California to its headquarters in Virginia.

• In Annandale, Va., 120 volunteers, including USA Today, WUSA-TV and Gannett staff, donned matching T-shirts to work on classrooms and play areas at the ACCA Child Development Center, which serves disadvantaged children. “I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday than doing projects in the communities we serve to help people who may not be as fortunate as we are,” said Gannett CEO Gracia Martore.

• In Jackson, Miss., employees of the Clarion-Ledger newspaper and their families volunteered at five different facilities run by Stewpot Community Services, including a soup kitchen and a battered women’s shelter. “It’s just a really really warming experience,” said volunteer Netalia Bradley.

• More than 20 employees of the Oshkosh, Wis., Northwestern newspaper pitched in to build shelves, help run an open house and prepare dinner at the Day by Day Warming Shelter, which serves the homeless during the winter months.

• In Petal, Miss., volunteers from the Hattiesburg American newspaper joined with Habitat for Humanity to help construct a home for a needy local veteran.

• Atlanta TV station WXIA 11Alive teamed up with Hands On Atlanta in 11 sites across the city, including building a community garden at a transitional housing development for the homeless and tutoring at a school for disadvantaged kids.

• In Little Rock, Ark., TV station Today’s THV sponsored three Make A Difference Day projects. As 30 volunteers braved the cold to help refurbish Baseline Elementary School in southwest Little Rock, school board member Norma Jean Johnson said, “This is just beautiful. I don’t care what people say, there are people who actually care.”

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Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of helping others, is sponsored annually by USA WEEKEND Magazine and its 800 carrier newspapers. Make A Difference Day takes place on the 4th Saturday in October each year.