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Make a Difference Day has to wait

Ryan Carter

Make a Difference Day figures to make a difference this year -- it’s

just not clear when.

The city’s annual food drive, scheduled for today, has been


postponed for the first time because of the ongoing supermarket

strike and the low number of customers who donate food, organizers


For the past seven years, volunteers have stood outside the


entrance to about 10 stores to solicit donations of food for local

charitable organizations.

“We’re really disappointed,” said Ellie Myer, chairman of the

10-member Civic Pride Committee, which sponsors Make a Difference

Day. “But there is just no sense in us standing out there.”

The stores where volunteers annually collect food include Ralphs,

Vons and Albertsons, as well as surrounding independently owned and

specialty markets. Volunteers gather up canned goods, snacks and


boxed goods to donate to organizations such as the Burbank Temporary

Aid Center, the Burbank Family Center Agency, the Salvation Army and

the Burbank Boys and Girls Club.

The food drive was the centerpiece of the national Make a

Difference Day.

“Usually, we get baskets and baskets full of stuff,” Myers said.

But the committee voted unanimously to postpone the food drive

once they realized the strike would persist and shoppers would stay


away from stores.

“We need the food. With the strike, we’re not getting as much food

from places like Trader Joe’s,” said Stacy Schumacher, acting

executive director of BTAC, which runs a local pantry for the poor at

1304 W. Burbank Blvd.

Surplus food items usually donated by independent stores like

Trader Joe’s simply are not coming in to BTAC because shoppers are

buying them, which leaves less for the clients of the center,

Schumacher said.

“We give away food throughout the summertime, so early in the fall

we are always a little low, so we look forward to this drive,” she