WATERTOWN — The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Eastern USA has raised more than $100,000 (USD) for Syrian-Armenian relief in the past six months. The ARS has been an active and influential humanitarian organization for over a century, and puts great effort and energy into reaching out to aid every needy Armenian family.
The ARS of Eastern USA recently transferred $44,000 to the “Sponsor a Syrian-Armenian Family” program. In 2013, the ARS of Eastern USA launched the program to help assist Syrian-Armenian families in need. The program accepts donations in any amount to distribute basic needs like food, water, safe shelter, baby formula, clothing, and utilities. To date, the ARS of Eastern USA has raised $112,000 for the “Sponsor a Syrian-Armenian Family” program.
The funds continue to be distributed to Armenian families in Syria that are most vulnerable. The program is currently being implemented by the ARS of Syria, which identifies the families in need and dispenses the funds as they become available.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria more than five years ago, the worldwide chapters of the Armenian Relief Society, through the efforts of the ARS of Syria, have succeeded in playing a vital and important role in the relief efforts.
The “Sponsor a Syrian-Armenian Family” program works alongside the ARS of Eastern USA’s “Hot Meal” and “Warm Home” programs.
The ARS “Hot Meal” program, which provides nutritious meals to over 300 impoverished people in Syria, has raised more than $8,000 over the past 6 months. The program began its operations at the ARS Syria Nor Kyugh Center; since the summer of 2014, however, due to extensive damages to the center, the program was moved to the Simon Vratsian Center Karni Hall. Hot meals are now given twice a week to those most in need. Additionally, on a monthly basis, ARS members visit needy families and provide them with food and other necessary items. Since the beginning of the crisis, the ARS of Eastern USA has transferred $38,000 to the “Hot Meal” program. The ARS of Syria Health Care Clinic was also relocated and continues to provide wellness care services to Armenians and non-Armenians.
The “Warm Home” project was established in 2013 and provides financial assistance to help families buy fuel to warm their homes during the cold winter days. To date, the ARS has raised more than $20,000 for the “Warm Home” program.
The ARS of Eastern USA’s efforts also include providing financial assistance to Armenian schools, ARS orphanages, and the ARS Health Care Clinic Center, and partnering with the Rapid Response Unit that was organized shortly after the start of the war. The ARS of Eastern USA has raised $184,866 for these important institutions since the crisis began.
The ARS’s assistance has not been limited to Syrian Armenians in Syria; a special fund has been set up that aims to support families that have been displaced due to the war. Atlantic Philanthropies Director/Employee Designated Gift Fund generously allocated $25,000 to the Syrian Armenian Relief fund. In addition, the company allocated $8,000 to the ARS-sponsored shelter in Aleppo. To date, $10,000 has been distributed to the ARS of Lebanon to be used for healthcare services by Syrian Armenians currently residing in Lebanon due to the Syrian crisis. In addition, $10,000 has been given to the ARS of Armenia, and has been allocated to 100 Syrian Armenians who have relocated to Armenia.
Since the beginning of the war, there has been substantial internal migration to the city of Latakia from other regions. Many people from Aleppo and Kamishli—including a large number of Armenians—have relocated to Latakia during the war for safe refuge. To assist families there, the ARS Eastern USA has given $5,000 of the Atlantic Philanthropies Director/Employee Designated Gift Fund donation to the ARS of Latakia to help Armenian students who fled other parts of Syria and are currently attending Armenian schools in Latakia.
The ARS’s support of Syrian Armenians under these dire wartime conditions has only been possible through the committed support of its chapters, members, and friends. The difference this assistance has made in the lives of the Armenian population of Syria is unquantifiable—a difference that is sometimes quite literally one of life and death.
The ARS of Eastern USA is grateful to all of its supporters, appreciates every gift and pledge made, and is committed to distributing these funds where they are most needed.
The ARS calls on all Armenians to stand by the organization and to help our brothers and sisters in Syria get through these difficult times.
The ARS of Eastern USA has 32 chapters located throughout the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern, and Southeastern regions of the United States with more than 1,200 members.