Burbank Coordinating Council Holds “Spirit Of Giving” Luncheon Fundraiser

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The Burbank Coordinating Council held its 2019 Spirit of Giving Luncheon last Friday, November 8, at the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank, with Vice Mayor Sharon Springer serving as the Mistress of Ceremonies. 

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The annual luncheon typically raises several thousand needed dollars from silent auctions and “ring-the-bell” donations, with local businesses contributing “in-kind” to defray much of the cost of the event.

Event Sponsors included Blink, Cartoon Network, GAIN, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Jim O’Neil, Sandra and Lily Thompson, Denis Cremins, Police Chief Scott LaChasse, BPD Command Staff, Roberta Reynolds, Eric Garcia, Mary and Steve Frintner, Church of Scientology Auxiliary, Tim Behunin, Valley Funeral Home, and Nicole Sporkin. ”In-kind” sponsors included Cantrells Cater, Martinos, Portos, Burbank Printing, NCL, Harvey Branman, Kandie Soderstrom, Zoapscentz, NCL, Cari Pelayo and Warner Bros.

“Beyond the minimum needed to put on this event, every penny collected today all goes to families in need,” said BCC President Janet Diel. “This holiday season we’ll be serving over 500 low income and at-risk families in need, including several homeless families as well.” 

Since 1946, BCC has been coordinating the entire citywide effort to help families with schools, churches, service clubs, non-profits, businesses, city departments, and various caring individuals. “Through the efforts of 2,000-plus people working together, food and gifts were delivered to nearly 2,400 people last December. This is the largest Service Project in Burbank!”  says Diel, adding, “Nothing is better in the world than seeing the faces of the children when bringing bags of food and toys to their home.”

In his invocation, Pastor Ryan Chaddick of the American Lutheran Church related the story of a child so taken with a department store decorated for the holidays that “she wanted to hug everything…which she proceeded to do.”  Pastor Chaddick knows that but for BCC and its sister volunteer groups, many children would not have so much as a single toy to hug and call their own.

During lunch, Pianist Robin Randall of Beautiful Downtown Burbank Singers showed off several of her young students: 

Kate Gallego of Luther Middle School played and sang “Another Day of Sun,” a very appropriate selection given the clear blue skies and summery heat that was waiting outside. 

Indira Ross of Edison Elementary honored the season ahead by playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

Bodhi Nguyen-Barnes of Roosevelt Elementary channeled Schroder and played Vivaldi’s “Spring” and the opening passages of Beethoven’s Fifth.

Syana Ford of Roosevelt Elementary sang and played Mariah Carey’s holiday standard, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The luncheon honored Charlene Tabet, a Burbank native, educator, long-time community volunteer and member of the BUSD Board of Education since 2013.

 Also honored was the National Charity League, consisting of mother-daughter volunteer teams. 

“I’m proud of our connections with the Burbank Coordinating Council,” remarked NCL Burbank Chapter President Robin Ellis.  She went on to say that in the course of raising funds for a variety of charities, her members contribute some 10,000 hours of community service annually.  Both honorees received commendations from the City Council as well as County, State, and Federal officials.

Sister Regina Palamara began her Benediction by noting that Rescue Force is this year’s top toy.  Then came the punch line: “The Burbank Coordinating Council is the “rescue force” for the have-nots.”

“Now everybody sneeze,” she said.

Everyone did.

“God bless you.”

Those wanting to help can adopt families, collect foods or gifts, pack them, or deliver baskets. To participate, donate, and volunteer, please email  ccholidaybaskets@aol.com  or call 818-216-9377.  Mark on your calendar: December 14 is Citywide Delivery Day.