Tag Archives: Burbank Coordinating Council

Burbank Coordinating Council Holds “Spirit Of Giving” Luncheon Fundraiser

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.

Burbank Coordinating Council Holds First Meeting Of Season, Plans Holiday Baskets

The Burbank Coordinating Council holds its first meeting of their 88th year on Monday, October 7, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Little White Chapel in Burbank.

The long-running aid organization plans to honor their Campership program partners and camp directors, as well as kick off the upcoming Holiday Baskets season, according to the organization’s president and co-chair of the Holiday Baskets program, Janet Diel.

Celebrating at Burbank Coordinating Council’s 81st anniversary luncheon are, from left, Joan Graves, program chairwoman; Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, and President Janet Diel. (Photo By Joyce Rudolph )

At the first meeting, Burbank Coordinating Council (BCC) will also welcome new and returning members over a luncheon. Membership is $20 per individual and $30 per organization, and lunch is $13.

“We need helpers for collecting food and gift items at stores on October 12, November 16 and December 7… and of course filling bags of food items on Wednesday, December 11, and delivering on Saturday, December 14 from 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.,” she added.

BCC will also hold their fourth annual Spirit of Giving luncheon on Friday, November 8, at Burbank First Presbyterian Church, located at 521 E. Olive Avenue in Burbank. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased via paypal through the BCC website here.

“We will proudly be honoring both Charlene Tabet and National Charity League for their continuous and dedicated participation in the Holiday Basket program,” said Diel.

“Join the event for opportunity baskets, entertainment, delicious luncheon and of course honoring our amazing Holiday Basket contributors.”

Volunteers put together Burbank Holiday Baskets. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Coordinating Council)

Applications and and donor forms to contribute to or apply for aid via the Holiday Baskets program are attached to this article and are also available throughout Burbank at schools, libraries and parks.

BCC also offers service learning hours for students who volunteers their time helping out, Diel mentioned.

The Little White Chapel, host to the first meeting on October 7, is located at 1711 N. Avon Street. More information on the BCC can be found on their website.

Burbank Coordinating Council Remains Stronger Than Ever at 85

The Burbank Coordinating Council celebrated its 85th anniversary last Monday at a lunch held at the Social Hall of the Little White Chapel, with LWC Pastor Bill Thomas leading the invocation.  On behalf of the BCC, President Janet Diel accepted commendations from the Burbank City Council and the State legislature.  Well-wishers included Mayor Will Rogers, Vice-Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, past Mayor Bob Frutos and Councilmember Sharon Springer, as well as Superintendent of Schools Matt Hill.

Indeed, BCC has much to celebrate.

Go back 85 years to BCC’s founding year 1933, one of the worst years of the Great Depression.  The adults were willing enough to personally do without and tough it out. But their children’s suffering tore at their hearts.

In those dire days, there were no safety nets to speak of, unless they were woven within local communities like Burbank, where concerned parents and teachers saw the need to make the weaving tighter.  So in September 1933, the PTA and BUSD school administrators organized the BCC to make it easier for volunteer organizations to band together when necessary.

Burbank Coordinating Council Board. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

One early BCC achievement was placing “Safety Sallies” at school crossings and intersections, where they shepherded children safely across the street.  The 1930’s also saw BCC begin the Campership Program for disadvantaged youth, in partnership with the Burbank Noon Kiwanis Club.

In 1946, the BCC encountered many people struggling to get their footing in the emerging post-WWII economy.  War widows and orphans carried additional burdens of grief, especially during the holidays.  The BCC responded by organizing the distribution of holiday baskets.

In the 1970’s, BCC volunteers were staffing the crisis line.  BCC established a food pantry, in partnership with the Burbank Ministerial Association.

The decades rolled on. Human suffering persisted.  The Burbank Coordinating Council and its members continued to do what they could to alleviate that suffering.

Back to 2018.  Those Safety Sallies? They led to today’s Police Crossing Guards.  The food pantry?  It has led to today’s Burbank Temporary Aid Center, one of the premier agencies for helping the homeless and families fallen on hard times. The

Camperships that began with a handful of kids?  This past summer 125 children in need attended camp.   The few dozen holiday baskets in 1946?  Now grown to 2400 baskets thanks to over 157 individual donors and 13 stores, representing the united efforts of numerous volunteer organizations.  BCC recognized the several dozen contributors, large and small, who went the extra mile and helped four or more families or led a major food or toy drive, or who donated $1,000 or more.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Today, BCC membership has grown to nearly 100, embracing schools, churches, synagogues, service clubs, volunteer organizations like the Red Cross as well as various local government agencies.   Whatever the safety nets that Washington D.C. or Sacramento may cast, Burbank and the wider nation would be a much poorer place without its volunteers, and without organizations like BCC that coordinate and amplify their good works.

The Burbank Coordinating Council holds luncheon meetings the first Monday of each month (October through May) from 12 Noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Social Hall of the Little White Chapel (1711 N. Avon, at the corner of Avon and Jeffries.)  The catered luncheon (for $12) features a guest speaker and provides the opportunity for attendees to promote their organizations, by distributing information or making announcements about upcoming events.

Councilman Bob Frutos and BPD Honored at Luncheon

On the morning of November 3, the Burbank Coordinating Council hosted their second annual luncheon at Burbank Presbyterian Church, in which City Councilman Bob Frutos was honored along with the Burbank Police Department. 

During the luncheon, funds were collected for holiday baskets to donate to needy families. Last year, they collected enough to donate over 500 baskets, and they hope to give even more this Christmas season.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“The selfless efforts and generosity of the honorees give us an outstanding example of the spirit of generosity that made America strong — and that continues to thrive in Burbank,” said Marsha Ramos, MC for the event.

“Bob and the honorable men and women of the Burbank Police Department have dedicated their lives to public service seeking to protect and improve the lives of children and families in our community.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Councilman Frutos, a Burbank resident of 25 years, has dedicated his life to public service. Beginning at a young age as a police cadet and later becoming a police community liaison officer, he continues in retirement to serve as a reserve officer. Frutos has been on the Burbank City Council for six years, serving one year as mayor.

“He is a generous spirit that stands out, he attracts good, inspires many and seeks to unite us.  He generously offers his time, talent and treasure in support of many worthy causes such as youth and senior services, our public schools, and many community-based organizations and charitable efforts here in Burbank,” said Ramos.

Councilman Frutos was awarded the “Spirit of Giving Award” by the Khalifeh family, on behalf of the BCC. He then said a few words, humbly thanking the community.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The BPD also received the same award this year. Following the BCC’s recognition of Frutos’ life-long communal service, Ramos spoke about the police department’s positive impact on Burbank residents.

“The men and women in our police department selflessly service the public with courage, honor, and excellence. From responses to residential house calls to the extraordinary coordination of efforts in response to the LA Tuna Fire, the commitment of BPD to preserve life and property is demonstrated every day, 24-7 and an utmost professional way.”

Throughout the year, the BPD is involved with several programs to grow in their interactions with the community. Around Christmastime, officers make phone calls to schedule holiday basket deliveries, collecting food among other gifts, and giving the baskets to families in-person.

For 22 years, they have also participated in “Operation Chill,” a program that rewards kids with free 7-11 Slurpee coupons for good behavior and abiding by the law. Over 19 million coupons have been given out since the program began.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Ramos listed several other communal activities the BPD have put on, including “Shop With A Cop” and “Coffee With A Cop,” both allowing residents to spend time and have conversations with local law enforcement.

During this time of year, officers partner with the Salvation Army to provide Thanksgiving Meals to families who can’t afford to celebrate on their own. BPD has also raised funds for the Boys & Girls Club, Arts for All, and the National Police Officers Memorial.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“It has been said that a hero is someone who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who gives as much as possible to help people. The men and women of The BPD fit the description, an exact match for this definition of a hero,” said Ramos.

A few of the sponsors who helped put on the luncheon include Capes4Cures, Cartoon Network, Burbank Water and Power, Burbank Federal Credit Union, and Handy Market.

BCC Holiday Baskets Program Asks For Donors And Volunteers

Donors are still needed to adopt families this year for the annual BCC Holiday Baskets program, according to Janet Diel, President of the Burbank Coordinating Council. BCC also asks for volunteers to collect food and toy donations and assist with basket preparation throughout the first few weeks of December.

“We still have about 175 families unadopted,” said Diel, who noted the Burbank Coordinating Council makes sure that even those families who aren’t “adopted” by basket distribution time will still receive holiday gifts and food.

Every year, individuals, families, schools, organizations and businesses in Burbank work together to provide Holiday Baskets filled with gifts of food, toys and clothes for needy families in the City. The BCC Holiday Baskets program enters its 79th year this season.

On Saturday, December 5, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., BCC conducts a citywide food drive at several local grocery stores. Volunteers are needed to help collect food donations and are asked to contact Barbara Salamon at (818) 843-7571 to arrange time.

On Wednesday, December 9, the donated food items will be bagged at The Little White Chapel between 2:00 and 9:00 p.m.

 Danielle Boyce, 15, left, of National Charity League, signs in to volunteer at the Holiday Basket Program with Sally Veres, treasurer of National Charity League  (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Danielle Boyce, 15, left, of National Charity League, signs in to volunteer at the Holiday Basket Program with Sally Veres, treasurer of National Charity League in this file photo from December 2014. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Then on Friday, December 11, the bags are transported from The Little White Chapel to Washington Elementary School auditorium and hallway. Food donations that come in that day will also be sorted and bagged. Gifts are added to the baskets to the complete building of un-adopted family baskets. The day starts at 2:00 p.m. at The Little White Chapel and volunteers work at Washington from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. or until done, added Diel.

Saturday, December 12, is Delivery Day. BCC needs volunteers to move all the un-adopted family baskets outside to the lunch shelter, cover the tables, sort out the baskets by city area, call families, load or unload cars and deliver baskets to families throughout the city. Diel plans to deliver baskets to more than 500 families throughout Burbank that day between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Volunteers may also call (818) 216-9377 or email ccholidaybaskets@aol.com to sign up to help.

“If you would like to adopt a family contact us ASAP,” added Diel.

The BCC holds its next meeting on Monday, December 7, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at The Little White Chapel, located at 1711 N. Avon Street in Burbank. Lunch is $10 and BCR A Place To Grow singers and the Van Bloem Singers will sing holiday music.

Burbank Coordinating Council Holiday Baskets Program Asks For Donations And Volunteers

The Burbank Coordinating Council Holiday Baskets program is underway, with food and toy drives currently being held in local schools. On Saturday, December 6, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., the Burbank Coordinating Council (BCC) conducts its annual December donation drive at 12 stores throughout Burbank.

In addition to donations needed to fulfill over 500 holiday baskets for local families in need, BCC are asking for volunteers to help collect donations on Saturday. For Burbank high school students in need of service hours, volunteering with the BCC is a great way to help out and fulfill graduation requirements, said Janet Diel, BCC President and co-chair of the Holiday Baskets program.

Food donations for Burbank Coordinating Council Holiday Baskets in this photo from December 2013. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Food donations for Burbank Coordinating Council Holiday Baskets in this photo from December 2013. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

“You can work a 2, 4, 6, or 8 hour shift collecting food outside one of 12 stores in the city,” Diel said. “So many families would go without food and gifts for their holiday without you! Come and join us and you will always be glad you did.”

BCC began the annual Holiday Baskets program in 1936 as a way of helping local families celebrate the Christmas season with food and gifts.

“It takes everyone working together to make this tremendous project happen each year,” Diel said. “There are so many ways and days to help — pick one or pick all. Don’t miss the chance to come and ‘feel good’ being a donor or volunteer. It is an experience you will always remember.”

On Wednesday, December 10, volunteers gather at the Little White Chapel to pack food bags between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. On Friday, December 12, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., volunteers are needed to move the food bags from the Little White Chapel to Washington Elementary School.

Firefighters prepare to deliver holiday packages. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Coordinating Council)

Firefighters prepare to deliver holiday packages. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Coordinating Council)

That same day, Friday, December 12, volunteers are needed to build un-adopted baskets at Washington Elementary School in the auditorium from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m.

While many local service groups and businesses adopt entire families and donate pre-packaged baskets, there are still many baskets to be packed for all of the applicant families.

Saturday, December 13, is delivery day for the baskets and the BCC needs help between 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

“If you are still wanting to adopt a family or donate to the program, please go to our website at www.burbankcoordinatingcouncil.org for more details and the donor form to fill out and email back to us at ccholidaybaskets@aol.com,” added Diel. “Or, call us anytime at (818) 216-9377 or (818) 238-7647.”

Those wishing to volunteer on Saturday, December 6, for the food drive are asked to call Barbara Salamon (818) 843-7571  for details and a store assignment.

Diel also encourages school children throughout Burbank and their families to turn in donations for classroom food drives, currently being held a schools in the Burbank Unified School District.

 

Burbank Coordinating Council Camperships Lauded

The Burbank Coordinating Council Camperships program sent nearly 100 local children to sleep-away and day camps this past summer, announced BCC President Janet Diel at the local service organization’s October 6 meeting.

Diel thanked Golden State Gymnatics, Forest Home, YMCA Camps and Burbank’s Parks and Recreation Department/Summer Daze Camps for working with the BCC to provide summer enrichment for needy children.

“We sent 98 happy, smiling children to camp,” Diel said. “You are the village helping to raise our children.”

Alexis Miller from Assemblyman Mike Gatto's office presented certificates to camp organizations providing services for Burbank Coordinating Council Camperships, including Heather Olson (Golden State Gymnastics Program Director), Bryan Snodgrass (YMCA Director Summer Camp), Grace Coronado (Burbank Parks and Recreation Services), Shelly Mutch (Forest Home Special Projects Coordinator) and Sam Albrecht (YMCA Director of Camping Services.) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Alexis Miller from Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s office presented certificates to camp organizations providing services for Burbank Coordinating Council Camperships, including Heather Olson (Golden State Gymnastics Program Director), Bryan Snodgrass (YMCA Director Summer Camp), Grace Coronado (Burbank Parks and Recreation Services), Shelly Mutch (Forest Home Special Projects Coordinator) and Sam Albrecht (YMCA Director of Camping Services.) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Diel also thanked Cartoon Network, Spirit Works and the National Charity League of Burbank for large donations funding a significant portion of the Camperships program. She also thanked BCC members for their ongoing efforts to raise Camperships funds and the Burbank City Council, BUSD Administration and Board of Education for continued support.

“Kids went to Golden State Gymnastics and had never seen a trampoline that big,” commented Diel.

Some children were able to attend a week-long camp in the mountains via YMCA or Forest Home. Others attended local day camps for athletics, art and field trips.

Burbank Coordinating Council thanked local organizations and area camp programs for helping 98 Burbank youth attend summer camp. Pictured are (form left to right): Alexis Miller (Assemblyman Mike Gatto's office), Heather Olson (Golden State Gymnastics Program Director), Sam Albrecht (YMCA Director of Camping Services), Bryan Snodgrass (YMCA Director Summer Camp), Grace Coronado (Burbank Parks and Recreation Services), Shelly Mutch (Forest Home Special Projects Coordinator), Jason Diel (BCC), Nancy Boyden (National Charity League Provisional Chair), Henry Diel (BCC), Janel Diel (BCC President), Sandra Thompson (BCC) and Doris Palmer (BCC.) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Coordinating Council thanked local organizations and area camp programs for helping 98 Burbank youth attend summer camp. Pictured are (form left to right): Alexis Miller (Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s office), Heather Olson (Golden State Gymnastics Program Director), Sam Albrecht (YMCA Director of Camping Services), Bryan Snodgrass (YMCA Director Summer Camp), Grace Coronado (Burbank Parks and Recreation Services), Shelly Mutch (Forest Home Special Projects Coordinator), Jason Diel (BCC), Nancy Boyden (National Charity League Provisional Chair), Henry Diel (BCC), Janel Diel (BCC President), Sandra Thompson (BCC) and Doris Palmer (BCC.) (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

The Burbank Coordinating Council brings together resources from area businesses, organizations and individuals to provide annual Camperships for area children and Holiday Baskets for local needy families.

Burbank Coordinating Council Food Drive Volunteers Needed

The Burbank Coordinating Council kicks off its annual food drive donation season on Saturday, October 11, at 12 local grocery stores. Volunteers are still needed to help collect donated food, said Barbara Salamon, the volunteer coordinator for the BCC.

“Adults and children are welcome to volunteer,” Salamon added. “It’s a great way for high school students to get service hours, too.”

Burbank Coordinating Council President Janet Diel (left) and volunteer coordinator Barbara Salamon ask for volunteers for the annual Holiday Baskets food drive. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Burbank Coordinating Council President Janet Diel (left) and volunteer coordinator Barbara Salamon ask for volunteers for the annual Holiday Baskets food drive. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

While volunteers will collect food items for eight hours on Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., even volunteering for an hour or two is helpful, she continued.

An additional food drive will be held on Saturday, December 6, to collect final items for the annual Holiday Baskets program. The Holiday Baskets program draws together resources and support from Burbank businesses, service clubs, schools and individuals to provide food and gifts for local needy families.

Last year, over 500 families were delivered food and gifts. As of October 6, the BCC has received applications from 311 families. Applications can be found at Burbank Unified schools.

The Burbank Coordinating Council has been serving Burbank since 1933. People and local organizations wishing to help the BCC on Saturday, October 11, should contact Barbara Salamon at (818) 843-7571 or countrylady2009@yahoo.com.

Some of the food collected at the 2013 food drive. Volunteers are needed for the 2014 Holiday Baskets donation drive which kicks off Saturday, October 11, in Burbank. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

Some of the food collected at the 2013 food drive. Volunteers are needed for the 2014 Holiday Baskets donation drive which kicks off Saturday, October 11, in Burbank. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

 

Coordinating Council Raises Funds For Camperships

Each year, Burbank Coordinating Council (BCC) sends as many local kids as their funds support to day or sleep-away camps in the Southern California area. BCC is now accepting applications from local students for the summer Campership program.

BCC is also in need of major financial contributions to support the Campership program. Currently, they are running Coins For Camperships, placing specific bottles to collect donated coins in local schools and city council and city hall offices.

Janet Diel, BCC President, asks the community’s churches, offices and businesses to help the Campership program and place collection bottles in their venues. BCC can also take straight donations via Paypal online or by check.

Burbank Coordinating Council held their 79th Birthday event during this weeks meeting. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank Coordinating Council held their 81st Birthday in February 2014. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“The more money we get, the more campers we can send,” commented Diel, who expects a rise in applications this year, to several hundred in total. BCC has received 100 to 200 applications in past years.

Younger kids are sent to a day camp for week, at local places such as Golden State Gymnastics, Summer Daze through the Burbank Recreation Department and the YMCA Day Camps.

Older kids may be sent to sleep-away camps such as Camp Gilmore, Forest Home or Youth Works.

“These are amazing experiences for these children,” said Diel. “People come back to us years later and say I don’t know where I would have ended up without that camp experience. It saves kids.”

“Camp is an investment in our children’s future,” she added. “They build self-confidence and leadership and a sense of normalcy many of these children don’t have at home.”

Applications are sent home to all students at the Title 1 elementary schools in Burbank Unified School District. Applications are also available in the offices of the middle and high schools in the district and online.

The deadline for applications is April 10 and Diel says the Camperships are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

Diel also mentions that businesses and organizations can contact her to sponsor an individual Campership for $200 to cover the cost for one week at a day camp or $500 to fund one week at a sleep-away camp. She can be reached via email at jrdiel@aol.com.

Burbank Coordinating Council Announces Food Drive, Holiday Baskets Schedule

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.

Dave Golonski discusses the Holiday Baskets program, as Janet Diel looks on. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Dave Golonski discusses the Holiday Baskets program, as Janet Diel looks on. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

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.”

Dr. Tom Kissinger, BUSD Director of Elemntary Education, and Steve Fritner, Burbank PTA President, attended the BCC luncheon. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Dr. Tom Kissinger, BUSD Director of Elemntary Education, and Steve Fritner, Burbank PTA President, attended the BCC luncheon. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

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.