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Making the world a better place

Burbank residents showed compassion for fellow neighbors during National Make A Difference Day on Saturday by donating 35 full shopping carts of food to the city’s three main social service agencies, organizers said.

Organized by the Burbank Civic Pride Committee, volunteers stood outside six neighborhood grocery stores asking for donations of food for Burbank Family Service Agency, Burbank Salvation Army and the Burbank Temporary Aid Center.

“There are a lot of nice people here in Burbank and you just can’t do enough for the city,” said Rob Vincent while standing outside the Fresh & Easy on the 1600 block of West Verdugo Avenue.

Vincent, chairman of the Civic Pride Committee, was happy with the day’s turnout, especially at his location and Henry’s Farmers Market on North San Fernando Boulevard.


“This was Fresh & Easy’s first year and Henry’s second, and although they are both smaller stores, the response was still very positive,” he said.

Joe Ramos, store director of Henry’s, agreed.

“I did not receive any complaints from customers and it was a pretty positive experience,” Ramos said. “They were well organized and didn’t wear out their welcome.”

This annual Make A Difference Day was sponsored by USA Weekend and The Points of Light Foundation as a national effort to make the world a better place.


All food donations collected from the stores, which also included Albertson’s, Pavilions, Vons and Ralphs, was taken to Burbank Temporary Aid Center for distribution.

Some residents handed Key Club volunteers from John Burroughs High School single cans of soup, cash and a case full of macaroni and cheese.

“With these difficult economic times, people are still extremely generous,” said Vincent after heading into the store to fill up another shopping cart using a cash donation the group received.

The food collected by the drive has already started going out to the community, said Laurie Bleick, director of Burbank Family Service Agency.

She expects all of the food collected on Saturday to be gone by the end of the week.

“People need it now and there is a huge need as people’s reserves dry up,” she said. “This is the worst I have ever seen it in my 20 years of working.”

Bleick has seen greater numbers of people become unemployed in recent months, and an increased need for services as the last of their savings are drained.

“You have a lot to be thankful for if you aren’t looking for food,” Bleick said. “Hopefully the need will continue to be met as we approach the holiday season.”