At the Burbank Coordinating Council (BCC) meeting on Monday, October 7, at the Little White Chapel, the service group President, Janet Diel, discussed the upcoming schedule for the annual Holiday Baskets charity event. The first food drive will be held at numerous area grocery stores this Saturday, October 12, between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Volunteers are still needed to help staff the various locations, collecting food donations from shoppers.
The second food drive event will be on Saturday, December 7. After the food has been collected, the items will be transported to the Little White Chapel, sorted and packed, on Wednesday, December 11, for delivery. On Friday, December 13, the food bags are moved to Washington Elementary School auditorium where they are combined with donated gift items into baskets created for each individual family and their members. On Saturday, December 14, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., hundreds of volunteers help deliver hundreds of baskets to the families throughout Burbank. Last year, more than 675 baskets were delivered to needy families.
“We work so hard to make sure the holidays are special for everyone, no matter what the income level,” comments Mrs. Diel. “No child should ever go without the joy of special food and gifts!”
Holiday Baskets Co-Chairperson Dave Golonski spoke for a few minutes about the program. Over 230 applications have already been received. While most families’ Holiday Baskets are “adopted” by another family, group or business, the need for more donors grows from year to year. Another big challenge mentioned for the BCC was finding gifts for teens.
Stores like the Handy Market donate fresh fruits and vegetables for the baskets, while other stores donate breads and the nearby studios always send gift items for children and adults, explains Mrs. Diel. “We depend on the generosity of the entire community to make this project a success each year.”
The BCC organizes the efforts of the numerous schools, churches, PTAs, service organizations, individuals and city departments into creating and delivering baskets of food and gifts for families in the Burbank area. Families send in applications for Holiday Baskets via the free lunch program at the schools.
At Monday’s luncheon, Food Drive Chairperson Barbara Salamon detailed the list of volunteer groups already committed to staff certain food drive locations. She also emphasized the need for more volunteers. In fact, the BCC needs more volunteers for not just the food drives, but in building and delivering the baskets in December.
Mrs. Diel mentions the BCC gives service learning hours for teen volunteers and that this program is a great way connect with the larger Burbank community. She notes that some past recipients of the Holiday Baskets program return and help out with volunteering and donations. More information can be found at the BCC website. The BCC welcomes all volunteers and donations, large and small.