Baskets

Burbank Fire engineer Joel Petteys delivers gifts to Anna Maria Venegas in Burbank on Saturday, December 17, 2011. Burbank Firefighters have been participating in the Holiday Basket Program since 1979. (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff Photographer)

Hundreds of volunteers participated in a long-standing tradition Saturday to provide holiday baskets and gifts to families in need during the holidays.

Burbank firefighters, one of many groups involved in the Coordinating Council’s Holiday Basket Program, have dropped off baskets and gifts since at least 1979, Capt. Peter Hendrickson said.

“We adopted 12 families this year,” Hendrickson said, adding that from about 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., firefighters delivered baskets with food and toiletries, among other items, to families across the city.

Saturday marked the 65th year the Coordinating Council has served Burbank’s neediest residents.

The holiday tradition began in 1946 when the council provided a single meal for families for Christmas.

Councilman Dave Golonski said more than 550 families were adopted this year by more than 100 different donors, including city departments, churches, businesses, school groups and individual families.

About 150 families were not adopted, and while that number was larger than last year, Golonski said plans are made ahead of time to ensure all families receive a holiday basket.

“Everyone pitched in and did something different — it all came together,” Golonski said.