The baskets originally contained only enough for Christmas dinner when the program began in 1943, but now they include at least a day's worth of food and sometimes enough to last an entire week. The council also makes sure that every child in the receiving family has a gift.
"We try to make sure we benefit everyone every way we can, but teenagers are the hardest of all," said Diel, who has been involved with the council for the past 24 years. "Almost everyone is willing to buy a stuffed animal, but it's not so easy with teens."
In the past, teenagers have received movie tickets or gift certificates to the local mall or stores like Target.
Diel and others on the council are expecting an influx of applications for baskets within the next two weeks as the distribution date approaches.
The council is also struggling to find volunteers for its Dec. 11 food drive and for basket wrapping and distribution the weekend of Dec. 17.
"It's been harder with the economy and will continue to be harder for so many," Diel said. "We just try to make sure that every family is served."
The organization also works with Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Family Services and Salvation Army to ensure that each family in need receives a single holiday package.
Burbank Temporary Aid Center had more than 225 families signed up, with more enrolling, especially after Thanksgiving, organizers said.
The Coordinating Council receives the majority of its applicants from families that are enrolled in free or reduced lunch programs at Burbank Unified schools.
"We're seeing more and more extended families living together and huge families living in single bedrooms this year," said 15-year volunteer Barbara Sykes. "Families with adult children, grandchildren and grandparents — no one can afford to live on their own."
Sykes is confident that the council will get the volunteers and donations needed to meet the demand.