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BOUNTIFUL BASKETS BURBANK'S NEEDY RECEIVE FOOD, GIFTS.

Byline: Sylvia L. Oliande Staff Writer

BURBANK - Christmas came a bit early for 1,000 needy Burbank families, as gift baskets overflowing with food and brightly wrapped gifts were delivered Saturday to their homes.

The goodies came courtesy of the Burbank Coordinating Council, an umbrella organization of about 70 agencies that collected food, clothing and gifts to distribute to low-income residents. The Salvation Army adopted about 200 families, with the rest divided among the Burbank Temporary Aid Center, various local businesses and city departments.

``Everyone gets into it,'' Burbank parks chief Mike Flad said Friday, as his staff put together a basket for its adopted family - a single mother with three young children.

``I think everyone gets sick of the overcommercialization of things and it puts things back into perspective for us,'' he said.

In fact, program chairwoman Pat Gunn said the annual gift basket project is becoming more and more popular.

``We had people clamoring for them this year,'' Gunn said. ``Word gets around that it's a good thing to do, and it makes you feel good.''

The families are identified by local schools, with applications going out to all of the more than 5,500 families enrolled in the federal subsidized lunch program. Families then turn in the applications, listing their needs and the ages and sizes of the children in the household.

Flad said it concerns him when he hears people grumble that the recipients have a Mercedes Benz in the driveway or there are other signs of being better off than they claim. He said he's been doing this since he was a child and in all those years he has never encountered anyone that didn't seem to need the help.

``Across the board people can't believe people live like this in Burbank,'' he said.

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Photo:

Food and gifts are distributed Saturday to 1,000 needy families as part of a Burbank Coordinating Council effort.

Phil McCarten/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 17, 2000
Words:326
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