Season of HOPE

Irma Lemus

MEDIA DISTRICT NORTH -- With maps of the city in hand, Burbank High

School students set out to collect canned food and other items for needy



About 100 students took part and within a couple of hours last week

they collected more than 1,000 cans, said Rhendy Santosa, president of

Burbank High School’s Helping Other People Eat community service club.

The HOPE group, in conjunction with the high school’s student


government and other campus clubs, has collected more than 5,000 cans

since the beginning of December when the holiday basket project began.

Santosa said the students collected enough canned goods to fill 50

food baskets for needy families.

“Over the years I’ve visited BTAC (Burbank Temporary Aid Center) and

have seen the families these boxes of food go to and it feels good to

give and make a difference to these people,” Santosa said.

The club, now in its 10th year, works with the Burbank Temporary Aid


Center and the Burbank Coordinating Council to distribute food baskets to

needy families each December.

“When we first started in 1989, we fed four families that year and

since then it has grown,” he said.

Anne Snell, one of the club’s faculty advisors, said she enjoys

seeing the holiday spirit on campus.

“As teachers we love to see the students so excited. It’s like

Christmas Day -- they’re so happy to be helping others,” Snell said.


On Friday, about 50 students worked late into the evening hours

packing food baskets, Snell said. Focusing on one basket at a time, the

students searched through thousands of cans goods that were spread out in

a school hallway, said Snell. All of the baskets are put together

specifically for the families that receive them.

Each of the baskets included breakfast, lunch, and all the ingredients

for a Christmas dinner -- including a pie and a gift certificate for a

turkey. The baskets also contained gifts, and not just for the kids, said

Snell. The pies were all donated by the Burbank High School Key Club.

“We’re thrilled that they (HOPE) are helping us. Those 50 families

are really lucky,” said Patty Reardon, executive director of the Burbank

Temporary Aid Center.

The center and the Burbank Coordinating Council distributed about

1,300 baskets Saturday morning from the National Guard Armory. John

Burroughs High School students, as well as Burbank Fire Department and

community members also collected cans for the effort, said Pat Gunn,

chairwoman of the Holiday Baskets Project.