GLENDALE—Official ceremonies of the Centennial of the Armenian Relief Society are set to begin in New York City on March 10. Even before 83 ARS of Western U.S.A. members from Northern to Southern California converge to New York City to attend Centennial ceremonies with ARS members from other regions, including the Eastern region and Canada; a truck load of 27 boxes (weighing half a ton) has already started to make its way to New York, to eventually reach Yerevan through the next United Armenian Fund flight.
The boxes include mostly educational and fun toys, school supplies and new clothing for the ARS Sosse Kindergartens in Artsakh (Karabagh) and needy children in Armenia. Other than items for children, the boxes also include clothing for their teachers.
Numerous individual and group donor contributions are included. Some groups started new traditions of sharing their gifts through the ARS, others have been doing it for many years. Donations for local children were already distributed during early January. The community support makes it difficult to note every contribution, so we are providing two examples.
Homenetmen Ararat Chapter girl scout troop #5, who are 11 to 18 years old, hosted a long-term toy and clothing drive starting in late October. Over four months, on a weekly basis, scouts from other “Ararat” Chapter troops generously contributed to their drive. The girl scouts delivered the donations to the ARS headquarters, where Jasik Jarahian, General Manager, hosted a reception for them.
“We hope to make this an annual event” wrote Elena Mirzaians, one of the Homenetmen Ararat Arenoush troop 5 members, who added “We send our deepest thanks to ARS for all of their work and for making this possible.”
Continuing many years of tradition, gifts also arrived from Fresno. The AYF “Kevork Chavoush” Chapter, with the help of other AYF chapters, Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church and the Armenian Students Organization of Fresno State, completed another successful toy drive. Chapter members, while visiting Armenia, were deeply moved by the children in the orphanages and learnt not to takes things for granted. Sevag Jierian, the AYF chapter chairperson, noted that they take the toy drive very seriously and that they have touched people’s hearts.
It is encouraging that young members of our society have been instilled with such attitudes, which inspire them to give of themselves to gain the joy of giving, especially, when it comes to helping children. For the ARS with a century-old tradition to serve those in need, it is a pleasure to observe educational toys and supplies helping to build self-esteem, making learning a joy, and bridging the gaps between the Diaspora and the homeland. We are grateful that as a member-agency of the UAF, the ARS is entrusted with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the new generation, locally and globally.