Ben Affleck's Unconventional Convention Week

Ben Affleck's Unconventional Convention Week
Ben Affleck
Giulio Marcocchi/Sipa

08/29/2008 AT 01:25 PM EDT

Ben Affleck packed in so much time doing good at the Democratic Convention in Denver that it seems he barely had time for the main attraction – indeed, he and wife Jennifer Garner ended up catching Barack Obama's acceptance speech from their California home Thursday night.

"It's like a football game," Affleck, 36, told PEOPLE about the convention. "You go and you can hardly see the person, so you wished you would have watched it on TV."

As for where the time went in the Rocky Mountains, the actor – who's sprouting facial hair these days for his role in the movie Extract, with Mike Judge – was packing 25-lb. boxes of food for America's Second Harvest, as part of a celebrity team that also included National Treasure's Justin Bartha.

In a five-minute competition to see who could pack and wrap the most, Affleck's side whipped the Congressional squad that included Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, 17 boxes to 15.

Affleck says he was drawn to Second Harvest two years ago after scouting film locations in a tough Boston neighborhood and discovering people forced to choose between food and housing or medical care.

"This is something people don't talk much about," says Affleck, "the 35 million people here in the U.S., including 9 million children, who are hungry."

Affleck also devoted time to poker – picking up a first-pace plaque in an event with the Poker Players Alliance to raise funds for Paralyzed Vets of America.

Not that his time was solely focused on packing food and poker. Both he and Garner hosted a table at the Impact Film Festival Party at 5 Degrees on Wednesday night, along with Forrest Whitaker, Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Cooper.

Later they moved on to an after-party at EXDO Event Center, where Kanye West played.

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