Holiday Baskets

A volunteer carries a one of nearly 500 food boxes packed for needy families a Holiday Basket event four years ago. (Times Community News / December 12, 2008)

Representatives from government offices joined those from PTAs, religious organizations, businesses, and local nonprofits to wish happy birthday Monday to the Burbank Coordinating Council, which turns 80.

President Eileen Cobos welcomed the more than 50 members and guests to the event at the Little White Chapel Social Hall, where community leaders thanked the council for creating some of the vital and enduring programs -- Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Holiday Baskets and others -- that make the city such a great place to live.

Mayor Dave Golonski, holding his grandson Grant, congratulated the council on all the programs it started. Golonski and is wife, Barbara Sykes, are volunteers with the coordinating council and give numerous hours to the Holiday Baskets program, so they see the results firsthand.

The council, he said, “has a rich history and it is pretty amazing all of the things that they have kicked off.”

Burbank Coordinating Council began in 1933 through the efforts of the Burbank PTA and Burbank Unified School District administrators. It has been responsible for beginning the Safety Sallies (school crossing guards), Burbank Temporary Aid Center, the Senior and Youth Boards, community forums, Child Guidance and Protection Programs, Books for Korea, Foster Home Studies and other programs.

The council received commendations from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

Suzanne Dunwell, senior field representative for Gatto, said presenting a piece of paper wasn't enough to commemorate the council for all its efforts over the last 80 years.

"You deserve a special gold star in heaven," Dunwell said of the eight decades of service to the community. "It is truly commendable and sets an example for all."

In presenting a commendation from the city of Burbank, Vice-Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy told how she became a supporter of the Coordinating Council two years ago, helping to fill Holiday Baskets.

This year, she recruited a neighbor to help and that neighbor plans to return next year. Gabel-Luddy also sought out a business to donate enough to send four children to camp this summer, she said.

"It is that kind of effort and the way it spreads out that makes Coordinating Council such a great, great institution in our community," she said.

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JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at rudolphjoyce10@gmail.com.