Hundreds of Burbank area families are enjoying a little extra holiday cheer thanks to the efforts of the annual Holiday Basket Program. It’s a huge effort that targets families with children in Burbank schools. For more than 60 years, the Burbank Coordinating Council has partnered with local churches, organizations, city employees, community groups and individuals to make the holidays a little merrier for the less fortunate.
This year’s program began several months ago, with applications from the families and culminated on Saturday, December 13 with the delivery of the baskets.
In an e-mail today, Janet Diel, the point person for the program and the BCC, said “… about 2,500 participate in preparation of baskets from collecting or donating foods or gifts, to sorting and bagging foods, sorting foods and packing bags of foods, building baskets, moving and staging the baskets in the lunch shelter (Washington Elementary School), and the final delivery of baskets too.”
Diel says the program is a success due to many generous individuals “… Remember that each person who donated either a dollar, or toy or piece of food was a contributor to the project too. We got food from some we thought couldn’t afford it themselves. And, we got tears and hugs from lots of families yesterday as drivers came back with their stories.”
Among the delivery volunteers, Burbank Police and Fire Department personnel, City Manager, Mark Scott and Bob Kramer, community assistance coordinator.
And, Burbank Traffic Commissioner, Kevin Harrop, was one of the volunteers, too.
There were a number of young, enthusiastic volunteers like Rachel Hendrickson who’s a 26 year-old graphic designer.
Hendrickson says she’s been involved with the program since the age of “7 or 8.” She says it was great fun as a kid and that is still the case now that she’s an adult. Also, the Long Beach resident says it’s “important to give back” and this program helps do that in a big way.
More than 500 holiday baskets got delivered. Diel says there are still “another dozen or so families to finalize, ” and the organizers are pushing to get that done in the next few days.