Community news: Holiday baskets, Boy Scouts collecting food, Optimists honor police

Burbank Coordinating Council is facing its toughest year ever to collect food, toys and gifts for its annual holiday basket program. They need individuals, organizations, businesses and neighbors to adopt families and purchase gifts and provide nonperishable fixings for a couple of holiday meals.

Last year 560 families — more than 2,500 children and adults — received help, said Barbara Sykes, who is co-chairing the program with Eileen Cobos, council president, and Janet Diel, past president.

More than 100 of those families had not been adopted by a church or other organization, so Coordinating Council members filled the need through donations from businesses and individuals and food drives at local grocery stores, Sykes added.

“We are going to have at least that number of families this year and we need people to adopt families or help us in some way to fill the baskets for unadopted families,” Sykes said. “People can donate to the food drives, donate gift cards, toys and teen items. We need the community support this year because the need is overwhelming.”

Burbank Coordinating Council is where the community comes when they need holiday help, Sykes said. The families that have registered to receive baskets have children in local public schools and they have been prequalified for the federal free or reduced-price school lunch program. About 25 families are homeless, Sykes said, living with friends, in a shelter or in their car.

Members will collect donations from the public at grocery and drug stores on Dec. 1 and 8. Volunteers are also needed to help put baskets together from 3 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14 at Washington Elementary School auditorium, 2322 N. Lincoln St., and to deliver baskets from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Washington Elementary lunch shelter.

For more information, call (818) 238-7647 or (818) 216-9377.

Boy Scouts collecting food for aid center

Boy Scouts in the Verdugo Hills Council distributed bags last Saturday for the annual Scouting for Food drive. Residents are asked to donate nonperishable food items.

Scouts will be picking up the bags on Saturday, Nov. 17. Donations should be out on the porch (or easily accessible by the Scouts) by 9 a.m. Burbank Troop 210 and Pack 212 will take all their collected food to Burbank Temporary Aid Center.

For residents that did not get a bag, Troop 210 and Pack 212 are using Izay Park as their base at the corner of Griffith Park Drive and Clark Avenue, and the public can bring donations there between 9 a.m. and noon this Saturday.

Optimists honor police employees

The Magnolia Park Optimist Club saluted four individuals from the Burbank Police Department as part of its Respect for Law program on Nov. 1 at the Burbank Elks Lodge. Optimist Club President Gary Oseransky welcomed members and guests, and Interim Police Chief Scott LaChasse served as master of ceremonies for the presentations.

Officer John Kaefer received Officer of the Year. He joined the department in 2006 and was selected as a member of the Crime Impact Team in 2010. He recently was assigned to the Gang Enforcement Unit where he has conducted follow-up investigations that have resulted in the seizure of several firearms and substantial quantities of narcotics and the arrests and convictions of numerous members of criminal street gangs and tagging crews.

Reserve Capt. DeWayne “Doc” Wolfer was named Reserve Officer of the Year. In addition to being a dentist, he has given 28 years, or more than 27,500 hours, of service as a reserve officer, which equates to 14 years of full-time service to the city of Burbank without pay.

Records Supervisor Tania Cooper was presented with the Civilian Employee of the Year award and Kaye Norris received Volunteer of the Year.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at

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