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
“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
“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,
“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