First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Each year, the mothers and daughters of the Burbank Chapter of National Charity League give more than 10,000 hours of volunteer community service to philanthropies in Burbank and Los Angeles County.
Last week, the full complement of the chapter, which includes the Classes of 2023 through 2028, had the opportunity to meet representatives from 15 of the local nonprofit organizations they support.
“This gathering is the kick-off of our new year in which all our members have the opportunity to welcome our new incoming class,” said Caroline Buffolino, who serves as the chapter’s co-president along with Jeanne Cotton.
“We are also presenting a philanthropy fair that was coordinated by Kathy Sessinghaus so that our members, both mothers and daughters, can meet some of the leaders and key people of the charities we support thorough volunteerism. This gives them the opportunity to get to know these people, ask questions and learn more about what they do.”
According to Buffolino, the chapter has shown great strength in building and retaining membership over the past three COVID-challenged years.
“So many organizations struggled to keep together during the pandemic,” Buffolino said. “That was a challenge in that we couldn’t meet in person or do many of the events we usually do. But now that we have come out of it we are seeing both mothers and daughters wanting to get back to life as it was – to be involved, to interact with one another, and get back to doing the work we do.”
Along with the philanthropy fair, introductions of new members, and the chapter’s regular meeting, last week’s event also included a special lunch. Each of the six participating classes were charged with creating a chili, three vegetarian and three with meat, based on their own recipe.
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Asked to make enough to feed their entire class they were to also make a bit more so that each chili could be tasted and judged by a three-person panel of judges composed of Albert Hernandez, the CEO of Home Again Los Angeles, Mary Ann Been of the Burbank Coordinating Council and City Clerk Zizette Mullins.
Following much tasting and debate, the trio selected the Class of 2027’s vegetarian chili to be the superior while the best meat chili honors went to the Class of 2028.
Along with Buffolino, Cotton and Sessinghaus, other members of the current board who assisted in making last week’s event a success were Michelle Ries, Terrie Weeden, Gabrielle Pascoe, Lisa Allinson, Natalie Gonzales, Neysa Siefert, Annie Ghazarians, Shilpa Sayana, Cheryl Herrera, Maddy Francis-Nappi, Annette Zapata-Mongelli, Melissa Procanik, Cristina Strattan, Kristi Allen, Suzi Reader and Char Tabet.
With their kick-off now in the rearview mirror, this year’s local National Charity League chapter is looking forward to numerous fundraising and volunteer events planned for the remainder of the year and 2023. They are currently working on providing a full Thanksgiving dinner for families involved in the Home Again Los Angeles program, formally known as Family Promise.
“Last year was the first year National Charity League partnered with us to serve our families,” said Hernandez. “It proved to be a great partnership and a wonderful evening so we are grateful they will be doing it again this year along with the help of the Gain Federal Credit Union.”
Buffolino said she and this year’s chapter are excited to be involved with the Thanksgiving dinner for the second time and hope to make it an annual tradition.
“Last year, our Class of 2022 were the ones who came up with the idea and hoped it would be something that would catch on and continue,” Buffolino said. “This year we have expanded it from one class to include the entire chapter and we are all looking forward to doing it again because it was so rewarding.”
For more information about the local chapter of National Charity League, visit nationalcharityleague.org/chapter/burbank/.
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.