The day of giving was organized by the Leadership Burbank Alumni Assn. and comes as demand for meals across the region continues to soar. The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank this fall has seen the need for food surge nearly 35% from a year ago.
And regional statistics show more than 250,000 people received support from food pantries each month between May and August, an 8.6% jump from the monthly average between January and April.
About 49 million Americans were “food insecure” in 2008, up 36 percent from a year earlier, when about 36 million people had difficulty with hunger, according to a Department of Agriculture report released Monday.
Local pantries such as Burbank Temporary Aid Center have spent months stressing the need for donations as executives and volunteers prepare to distribute hundreds of holiday basics like turkeys, stuffing, potatoes and vegetables to needy individuals and families, Executive Director Barbara Howell said.
The debilitating recession, intensified by a weak job market and elevated foreclosure rate, has caused grocery requests to increase more than 80% from the previous year, and the center’s client list has grown to include longtime donors, organizers said.
“We understand that some people, some foundations and some business owners are having to pull back,” Howell said. “But people’s hearts — especially here in Burbank — are so big that when someone drops off, others step in.”
Leadership Burbank alumnus Barry Gussow handed out fliers and implored shoppers to donate holiday groceries as well as peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, cereals and canned foods.