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Employees raise $4K for center

Joyce Rudolph

A reciprocal partnership has formed between Burbank Temporary Aid

Center and Vons/Pavilions grocery stores.

Laurie Williams, store manager of the Pavilions on Alameda Avenue,


recently informed Pat Smola, executive director of BTAC, that the

center will receive a $4,100 donation from fund-raisers sponsored by

Pavilions and the three Vons stores in Burbank.

Smola said the donation is part of an ongoing partnership between


the charity and the local company.

“We support each other as National Charity League members always

shop at Pavilions for their food drives to fill our pantry,” she

said. “Charity League members are always treated with open arms.”

The donation came from two fund-raisers during the summer,

Williams said. The first included a series of contests and other

activities. Checkers collected donations from customers in canisters

at their check stands and the stores sponsored special days for


selling hot dogs and root-beer floats. At Dress-down Days, employees

would pay a donation to wear Hawaiian shirts or other favorite

clothing items for the day.

“Contests for our employees are a lot of fun and they bring us

together,” Williams said.

Money also came from the Vons Foundation, to which employees

donate funds out of their paycheck every week, Williams said. The

employees recommended BTAC receive all the funds.


“For me, it’s wonderful to see how much the customers really care

about the community and what a difference our customers and our

employees can make in the community,” Williams said. “It’s an awesome

thing to raise funds for your community and know it’s going to great


BTAC helps single mothers and fathers, people who have been laid

off and senior citizens on limited incomes when they need temporary

assistance buying food and paying utility bills, motel stays and

transportation expenses for emergency situations.

“Oh my gosh, whether its $50 or $100 or more, a donation just

means so much to BTAC,” Smola said. “It’s extraordinary that

Pavilions and Vons employees think that much of the service we are

providing to make Burbank a better and safer place.”

Providing temporary assistance to people, Smola said, makes a

change in people’s life. It gives them hope.

One man, due to several circumstances, lost his retirement

benefits and became suicidal. A friend brought him to BTAC and the

staff placed him in a hotel for six weeks and sent him to Hope Again,

an agency that helps people find jobs.

He now works as a security guard and loves it, Smola said.

Remodeling is planned for the center next year, Smola said. Plans

are to build a two-story facility in back of the headquarters at 1304

W. Burbank Blvd. The addition will house a Santa’s Room for toy

donations during the holidays, a conference room, office and storage

area to accommodate donations.

Donations are kept in four sheds outside the facility, which is

especially challenging going back and forth when it rains, Smola