Hundreds of volunteers are needed over the next week to help collect donations and assemble holiday gift baskets for needy families in Burbank. 

The Burbank Coordinating Council this Saturday is sending volunteers to 13 grocery stores in Burbank between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to collect canned goods, paper goods, gift cards, personal hygiene items and toys to fill the gift baskets, which will be distributed to 600 families this holiday season.

The program serves roughly 2,000 people, including 1,400 children who receive free or reduced lunches at Burbank Unified schools, said Janet Diel, president of the council. 

About 450 of the 600 families have been “adopted” by different community groups, businesses or individuals to fill their holiday baskets, leaving the council in charge of collecting food and gifts for the remaining 150 families. 

On Wednesday, volunteers are needed to help pack the baskets at the Little White Chapel, located at 1711 N. Avon St., from 3 to 9 p.m. 

The council is also seeking volunteers to help transport the filled baskets on Friday, also from 3 to 9 p.m., from the Little White Chapel to Washington Elementary School Auditorium. 

Then next Saturday, volunteers are needed to deliver the hundreds of baskets to local low-income families, Diel said.

Each family applied to receive a basket through the Burbank Unified School District, Diel said. Last year, 575 families benefited from the program, which has been running since 1936. 

“We have people that come back year after year after year to help us because it feels so good,” Diel said. “It’s really important to let the children and families know that they’re not forgotten.” 

To volunteer for the program, email ccholidaybaskets@aol.com or call (818) 238-7647. 

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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