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Firm Spends Workday Helping Community

From painting wrought-iron fences to serving food to residents, KPMG Peat Marwick employees Monday gave up a workday to lend a hand at L.A. Family Housing Corp.'s transitional living center.

The employees were taking part in “World of Spirit Day,” a companywide event marking the accounting firm’s 100th anniversary. Rather than throwing a big bash for themselves, company officials decided to give something back to the community.

Some 20,000 partners and employees across the country traded their business suits for work clothes to help renovate buildings, feed the hungry and clean parks, among other community service projects.

Locally, employees took part in daylong volunteer efforts at 20 sites in Los Angeles.

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“We have been planning this event for more than a year,” said Norma Lawrence, a partner in the firm, as she looked up from rolling paint on a fence. “In fact, if clients call the office, they’ll get a message saying that we are all out volunteering and we’ll be back on Tuesday.”

While Lawrence acknowledged that it is practically unheard of for a Big Six accounting firm to shut down on a business day, she said spending the day helping other people was worth it. “We hope that people will experience the good feeling that comes with giving and that they will continue to give in their spare time,” Lawrence said.

As volunteers prepared to serve lunch to residents, Nat Hutton, executive director of L.A. Family Housing Co., thanked the employees for their hard work on behalf of the residents--and for saving the nonprofit agency about $6,000 in painting costs.

“I am saving dollars that I can now put into programs and operations that will directly benefit residents,” Hutton said.


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