ANCA Launches “Cans for the Cause” Campaign

WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has answered President-Elect Barack Obama’s challenge to Americans to participate in National Day of Service activities with a nation-wide campaign to feed the hungry. The Day of Service is set to coincide with Martin Luther King Memorial Day (January 19) and the Presidential Inauguration (January 20th).

In honor of U.S. humanitarian assistance efforts for survivors of the Armenian Genocide from 1915-1923, the ANCA has initiated the "Cans for the Cause" Campaign, which encourages community members to work with local ANCA chapters and Armenian American organizations, or take the lead themselves in canned food drives across the U.S., to assist food banks dedicated to feeding the hungry.

"During the Armenian Genocide and in the aftermath of this terrible crime, Americans participated in an unprecedented humanitarian relief effort for the survivors of Ottoman Turkey’s brutal campaign of race extermination," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "As a community we owe a tremendous debt to the generosity of the American people and strive to honor this proud chapter in U.S. history by doing our part to feed the hungry and bring hope to those facing hardship both abroad and here on our own shores."

The National Day of Service, first initiated by Congress in 1994, honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King by transforming the federal holiday honoring Dr. King into a national day of community service grounded in his teachings of nonviolence and social justice. The aim is to make the holiday a "day on," where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and move our nation closer to the "Beloved Community" that Dr. King envisioned. With thousands of projects planned across the country, the 2009 King Day of Service on January 19 promises to be the biggest and best ever.

The ANCA’s goal is for each local Armenian American community to collect 500 food items (canned or boxed) by January 19th. To facilitate this effort, the ANCA has set forth an organizing "tool kit" for local community activists and groups, which outlines the following:

Each local Armenian American community should establish:

One lead organizer who takes responsibility for collecting 500 food items

10 Super Volunteers responsible for 50 food items (the lead organizer should be one of these super volunteers)

10 Super Volunteers x 50 food items = 500 food items

Each super volunteer can collect 50 food items by finding 5 people (including themselves) to donate 10 items, or they can buy all 50 items themselves.

Lead organizers are responsible for the following:
Finding a location to store collected food items

Identifying and recruiting super volunteers

Keeping track of the number of food items and reporting to the ANCA headquarters in Washington, DC garo@anca.org

Delivering food items to food bank (or delegating this task to a volunteer)

The ANCA will provide lead organizers with the following:

Location of local food banks

Flyers to pass out (church, special events, etc)

Lists of potential activists in your area

Full time ANCA staff support via phone and email.

To sign up as a Lead Organizer or a Super Volunteer, or to just ask questions or make suggestions, contact national campaign coordinator Garo Manjikian at garo@anca.org or (202) 775-1918.

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