Tag Archives: Salvation Army

Burbank Bike Angels Celebrate 10 Years of Restoring Bikes

On Tuesday, December 18, the Burbank Bike Angels celebrated their tenth Christmas, displaying restored bikes on the steps of Burbank City Hall, located at 275 E. Olive Ave. 

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

Every year, the Bike Angels volunteer their time to restore used bicycles to provide for kids who come from less fortunate households.

The program has expanded over the years, supplying over 200 bikes every holiday season through various local non-profits, such as the Salvation Army, Family Service Agency, the Boys and Girls Club, and Penny Lane. Partnering with the Burbank Police Officers Association has provided new bike helmets, encouraging safety throughout the community. With the help of the Fire Department, bikes are transported around town.

Elaine Pease, Director of the Burbank Bike Angels, recounted the story of when she started the program a decade ago. Originally, the program only restored a few bikes at a time.

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

“Ten years ago, around Christmastime, there were a few tags left on the Salvation Army Christmas tree and they were for bikes. It happened to be at a time when the economy was very bad, and I thought these poor kids will never get bikes,” said Pease.

“I knew some people who could fix bikes, if I could get used ones we could fix them up and make them look nice. The idea just took off, and every year we got requests for more and more.”

Several volunteers were in attendance as City Council members voiced their appreciation for the selfless work of those involved with the program.

“About 8 years ago, the Bike Angels sent out a flyer to my middle school and I thought it might be fun,” said Alexander deCruz, a volunteer. “I started showing up, and learned how to clean bikes and repair them. I’ve met so many great people. I’ve been coming back ever since.”

(Photo By Timothy Malby)

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, who has been in City Council since the Bike Angels began, is grateful such a group exists in the community.

“It is one of those events that bring a lot of our community together in support of kids who otherwise don’t have any opportunity to get a bicycle,” said Mayor Gabel-Luddy.

“If there’s one thing I can say about Burbank, it’s that when folks hold together, that is the reward to everyone who lives here, that brings a smile to a child’s face.”

Throughout their 10 years, the Bike Angels have restored more than 1,700 bicycles.

On Friday, December 21, the Bike Angels will be at the Burbank Salvation Army from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to give away the refurbished bikes.

The non-profit group is always accepting new volunteers to help clean formerly owned bikes and pump tires. More information can be found at the Bike Angels’ Facebook page.

Residents Sad To See Local Toys R Us Close

Among Toys R Us’ 735 locations throughout the country, Burbank will soon lose the toy retailer which declared bankruptcy last month. Several residents who have a nostalgic attachment to the store are sad to see it go.

For many, Toys R Us has provided job opportunities for entry-level positions. As the store goes through the closing process, they continue to look for new employees to hire as cashiers, stock crew, and sales team members.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Luke Meadows, 27, grew up in Burbank and had his first job working for the toy retailer during the Christmas season of 2008.

“I think fondly of my time there. I learned how to work in chaos. Christmas season was understandably intense,” said Meadows. “I remember seeing customers arguing over toys and learning how to handle conflict like that.”

As a child, Meadows would frequent the store to engage with a community of other kids who enjoyed playing Pokemon.

“I feel its bittersweet to see the store go. It’s a place I used to go to Saturday mornings for their Pokémon league as a young child.”

America Burke, 32, grew up with a single mother who worked for the Salvation Army. Every December, they would station in front of Toys R Us to collect donations.

“I was allowed to be with her during the morning shifts and I would help by asking for donations underneath the bright and happy lights of the Toys R Us sign,” said Burke. “My mother would naturally allow me to go inside the store to look at the toys if I promised to behave myself.”

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Coming full circle, Burke visited the store for the first time since childhood and ran into a young girl collecting donations outside for the Salvation Army.

“I proceeded to go inside to purchase a few Christmas presents. When I came out, I walked directly to the little girl and handed her a few toys and treats and said, ‘Merry Christmas!’ and seeing her eyes light up and how happy she looked melted my heart.”

“I got really sad hearing that it would close as I have many more wonderful memories tied to this Toys R Us. I will miss it dearly,” said Burke.

Liquidation sales began March 23.

Burbank’s Toys R Us is located at 683 N. Victory Blvd.

Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign Begins

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

On November 20, the Salvation Army’s Burbank Corps continued their annual Christmas fundraiser known as the “Red Kettle Campaign,” which raises money for the poor and homeless, among others who are often neglected during the holiday season.

Red kettles have been placed in 13 locations throughout Burbank to collect donations until Christmas Eve when funds will be distributed. The kettles can be found outside all four Ralph’s, Vons on Pass Ave., Pavilions, Hobby Lobby, Handy Market, and inside the parking lot of Macy’s.

“The economy has made it a rough year for many families, and we’ve seen it firsthand in the numbers of people coming to us for help,” said Lt. Jeremy Baker.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“It’s especially hard during the holiday season, with people losing their jobs, their homes and not knowing how they will provide for their families. That’s when The Salvation Army steps in to help. But to keep pace with the need, we must rely on generous people in our community to open their hearts with a donation to help their struggling neighbors.”

This year, the Red Kettle Campaign is centered around the theme, “I’ll Fight for Good,” highlighting the individual effort that goes into positively impacting the community.

The Salvation Army’s Burbank Corps anticipates raising $70,000 which will fund local programs and services, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for those who won’t be able to celebrate on their own. Other donations will fund the Burbank Corps’ after-school program which engages with local youth.

A press release from the Salvation Army suggests that those who are interested in volunteering this holiday season should visit burbank.salvationarmy.org or contact Lt. Brittany Baker at 818-845-7214.

Salvation Army Kicks off its Red Kettle Campaign

RED Kettle Kickoff @ Pavallions  (© Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

The Burbank Salvation Army kicked off its Red Kettle campaign on Monday with a photo opportunity for the local media at the Burbank Pavilions.

Lt. Jeremy Baker welcomed Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes along with several board members including Elaine Pease, Lee Stacy, Tauny Vo and lifetime board member Elaine Paonessa. Also on hand was Cadet Ernest Evans who is interning at the Burbank headquarters during the Christmas season.

Last year, a total of $59,000 was collected over the holiday season, Lt. Baker said.

RED Kettle Kickoff @ Pavallions  (© Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“We raised about a quarter of our annual budget and all of that went to help the community of Burbank,” he emphasized. “Out of every $1 that is put in the kettles, 93 cents go back into the community through the services we offer. The remaining 7 cents go to cover costs to keep the Salvation Army building functioning, like for electricity and phone bills.”

This year there will be 11 Red Kettles set up from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at such locations as Pavilions, Von’s on Pass Avenue, Macy’s and all three of the Ralph’s grocery stores. The Ralph’s at 1100 N. San Fernando Blvd. will have two kettles. On the weekends, Porto’s and Handy Market will have kettles at their front doors.

As it’s always a challenge to recruit volunteers to stand at the kettles, Lt. Baker said they will pay community members to ring the bells attracting folks to drop in coins and hopefully dollar bills or more.

“Our bell-ringers are community members who throughout the year are hard pressed to find a good job,” he said. “So around Christmas they come to us and we let them ring bells and they typically do well and it’s a good transition for them. They get work experience and they start re-applying for jobs at the beginning of the new year.”

Lt. Baker recalled one interesting donation that came in last year. A man gave his collection of steel pennies dating back to World War II. His family had been collecting them over the years.

“He donated 186 coins each worth $1, which is not a huge donation, but very unique,” Lt. Baker said.

RED Kettle Kickoff @ Pavallions  (© Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

One day during the holiday season the service clubs in town serve as bell-ringers at various locations and they compete to bring in the most money. The winning service club last year was the Burbank Sunrise Rotary Club.

“Service clubs say how much fun they have going out there,” Lt. Baker said.

This holiday season, the Salvation Army will be partnering with local organizations and businesses to help collect toys and food that will be distributed to those in need on Dec. 19. The Verdugo Hills Council of Boys Scouts already conducted its food drive. Such businesses as Pickwick Ice Arena will be collecting toys and canned goods as well.

Salvation Army Holds Annual Thanksgiving Feast

City Officials along with community members joined Salvation Army Lts. Jeremy and Brittany Baker  Wednesday evening to serve over 350 Hot Thanksgiving Dinner at The Burbank Salvation Army Headquarters.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Joining the army of servers were students and their parents from Bellarmine-Jefferson High School and  members of Woodbury College, and Sunrise Rotarians.

The plates being served had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, dinner rolls and dessert. They were also offered hot coffee, juice, and cold water.

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos, along with City Council Member Will Rogers, were a couple of the City Officials who helped  deliver plates to the guests.

Each year many companies, Service Clubs and individuals contribute money and services so that this event can be held. To volunteer, or contribute to the many Services that the Salvation Army provides for the community, you may do so by calling the Corps at (818) 845-7214 to speak to one of the representatives, or stopping by the office at 300 E. Angeleno, ( at Third Street.)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

 Elaine Paonessa contributed to this story. She has been involved with The Salvation Army for many years.

Editor’s Note this story was updated with Sunrise Rotarian’s.


Salvation Army’s Red Kettles Return for Christmas Season

The Salvation Army kicked off it's Holiday Red Kettle Drive here in Burbank. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

This week, the Burbank Salvation Army joined forces with The Burbank Optimist Club for the Red Kettle Drive.  The Salvation Army Burbank Corps’  Lt.Eric Rudd and his wife Lt. Kari Rudd joined Mayor Jess Talamantes and members of the Burbank Corps’ Band at the Pavilions Market on Alameda Ave for this years donation drive.

The Red Kettle Drive began 120 years ago in San Francisco, with the fist kettle placed at the Ferry Terminal. Over the years the Red Kettles have come to symbolize Christmas and the charitable work of the Salvation Army.   The Red Kettles can be found thoughout the world today.  Locally, various Burbank service club members have volunteered to man the Red Kettles one day during the Christmas Season.   The Burbank Corps has been a part of the community for half a century.

The Salvation Army serves 25,000 community members, which includes 500 seniors per month. The Red Kettle Drive is the local corps’ main fundraiser each year along with grants. This year they hope to raise $70,000 with everyone’s help.

The Salvation Army kicked off it's Red Kettle Drive this week in Burbank. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)