I love Burbank! I love this city because it is one of the most kind
and generous cities in the world. This is not a commentary about the
second coming of Gandhi or the resurrection of Saint Frances. It is
just a humble story about one person helping another. A saga of
brotherhood, generosity and a simple humanity that often seems
nonexistent in this sometimes cold, cruel showbiz town.
I recently heard about the truly amazing and superb things the
Burbank Noon Kiwanis Club is doing to help needy families in our
community. In cooperation with Burbank Temporary Aid Center (BTAC),
the Kiwanis Club has gone way beyond the call of duty. BTAC will
recommend a needy family, and the Kiwanis will work to lend a hand
and assist them back on their feet directly.
The Kiwanis Cares About Children fund started by Kiwanis member
Stephen Veres is truly brilliant. They have basically adopted
families with extreme financial hardship and stress, local families
who are in dire need of help. Recently, BTAC recommended a very needy
Burbank resident Mike Hele and his teenage daughter, Allison, were
in terrible financial trouble. Cancer had forced Mike to leave his
job, and it was also threatening his life. His family was emotionally
and financially devastated. They felt desperate and doomed. But then
the magnificent members of the Kiwanis Club gave them a gift card for
food and reinstated the family’s auto insurance by paying six months
of premiums. They paid the phone bill and the electric bill, and also
paid DMV fees and other bills that had mounted over time.
This took some of the tremendous stress off this poor sick man’s
tired shoulders. Veres and his wife also took Allison to the mall and
bought her some new clothes and shoes.
Families like the Heles sometimes need aid, and I truly must
applaud and commend the Kiwanis Club for their kindness and
overwhelming commitment to their community. The Kiwanis removed some
of the major problems from the Hele family’s list of troubles.
Hopefully, now Mike can continue to concentrate on getting well and
back to work without all the devastating financial pressure. The
Kiwanis played a major role in turning this family’s life around.
Members of the Kiwanis Club are providing additional funds to help in
this undertaking. They have now adopted two other local families and
now need community help in supporting this wonderful project.
I am very impressed and humbled by the compassion and generosity
of the Noon Kiwanis Club of Burbank and would also like to offer
assistance and support. If anyone would like to donate to this
project, please call Stephen Veres at 843-2600. Your financial
support will make this project a success.
I really wish everyone reading this commentary will follow the
example of the Kiwanis and would try doing a truly unselfish deed
this week. Just get out there and try to help someone, regardless of
whether it is giving a buck or two to a homeless person or donating
some food to the temporary aid center. Pretend you’re a Boy Scout
tomorrow and do a good deed; see if it doesn’t make you feel better.
Maybe volunteer to hand out food at the Midnight Mission or
Salvation Army. Or just send five bucks to a worthwhile organization.
See if it really does make you feel good. And, if it does make you
feel good and if you have a minute, please e-mail me and let me know.
I really would love to hear your comments.
It is not easy to change the world but, in time, one step at a
time, one town at a time, the human race may learn to walk and maybe
even run. That’s what they are trying to do at Kiwanis, take that
first small step and go the distance.
Editor’s note: McKenna is a filmmaker and the executive director
of IDEAS (Investigative Documentaries Educating American Society). If
you have any comments, ideas or need more information on how you can
help or contribute, call him at 818 846-3519 or e-mail him at