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JAMESTOWN – The “Making Strides Against Cancer” walk on Oct. 20 in Jamestown will get a huge boost this year from a group of local employees who have been working all year for the cause.

Employees of the Pepsi Bottling Co. of Jamestown have raised more than $15,000 to present to Michael Porpiglia of the Chautauqua County branch of the American Cancer Society. Porpiglia said it is the largest donation the group has received in several years.

“It really proves what wonderful employees they have,” he said.

Lisa Steppe-Lawson and Helen Fisher coordinate employee activities at the company.

Chuck Van Riper, general manager of the Jamestown location, and Fred Pellerito, sales manager, said they believe they have 100 percent of their employees participate in events.

Employees have fundraising events at the Gerry Rodeo, Jamestown Labor Day Festival, golf tournaments and internally with candy sales in their break room. They sold T-shirts, scarves, hats and other items to raise money.

With 54 employees, the location is the second-smallest Pepsi distribution center in New York State but has been first in fundraising efforts for charity.

Van Riper said it is part of the culture of the organization.

“It starts at a grass-roots level,” he said.

He said the company tries to help out many local nonprofits by donating some products. It also will provide the water for walkers in the Oct. 20 event.

Registration will start at 8:30 a.m. and the walk is at 10 at Jamestown Community College.

He said the cause of breast cancer awareness has been of particular importance to many of the staff members and that Porpiglia has attended staff meetings to thank the employees.

This year there will be special recognition for cancer survivors.

“The donation from Pepsi employees is a huge motivation for other businesses to join in and help us,” Porpiglia said.

He said teams who still want to register can show up on the day of the walk.

“We are pleased that the proceeds from our fundraising efforts will go toward a cause that stays in this area,” Steppe-Lawson said. “Everyone is motivated to help out.”