GLENDALE, Calif.—The Armenian Relief Society of the Western US has issued an appeal to the community this holiday season, urging Armenian-Americans to participate in a charity drive to help the less fortunate.
“Responding to the needs of the community and giving to those in need has been the guiding principle of the ARS,” said Sossie Poladian, ARS Western USA Regional Executive Board Chairperson.
Poladian said the ARS has been carrying out an ambitious campaign to collect donations from community members and ARS supporters to help those who need help the most this year.
“The first mailed ARS appeal has already reached the communities closest to Glendale, and others will follow,” Poladian explained. “It is hoped that ARS supporters will respond with small or large donations to make up for the shortfall many are expected to face this Christmas season.
Poladian said the ARS has already witness a “generous” and “uplifting” outpouring of community support for the campaign, despite economic downturn.
Since its inception in 1910, the ARS has worked to serve, from helping Armenian refugees coming into Elis Island to caring for the elderly, orphans, widows, widowers and students, according to her.
Alongside the mailer, the ARS has also been organizing canned food drives throughout the community.
In November, the ARS helped a class of 4-year olds at St. Mary’s Richard Tufenkian Armenian Preschool to organize a canned food drive. Through the coordination of preschool Director, Arsine Aghazarian and homeroom teacher Seta Hagopian, 80 children at the preschool were able to participate in the drive, collecting canned and boxed goods to be donated this Christmas.
Dinners and luncheons have also been organized at the homes of ARS members, encouraging guests to make donations to the ARS.
“The children learned about giving to other children, who may be hungry, and the parents were happy that their children were learning to share and care,” said Hagopian, who is a member of the Glendale “Sepan” ARS Chapter.
The Hoover High School Armenian Club also held a canned food drive for the ARS campaign. Club member Talin Fakhourian, explained that the highschool students took part in the drive “to give back to the Armenian community during Christmas time.”
Christmas gifts are also being collected at schools and community centers for children served by local ARS Social Services offices in the Diaspora, Armenia and Artsakh. The ARS is welcoming donations of clothing and educational toys, which it will give to children on Christmas.
The ARS Western USA is also taking part in the global “Amanor” campaign run by the international ARS, as well as shipping boxes of toys, clothing and shoes to the children in Armenia and Artsakh.
Alongside grassroots efforts, the ARS was also able to tap large corporate donors to help its holiday campaign, gaining a generous donation from the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation. The Foundation gave the ARS Child, Youth and Family Guidance Center $2,500 dollars to help provide therapy and counseling for the needy during the difficult holidays.
The Smart & Final Charitable Foundation donated $2,500 to the ARS Child, Youth & Family Guidance Center. Randall Oliver handed the check to Sossie Poladian, Chair of the ARS of Western USA, Regional Executive, who was accompanied by Asdghig Chitilian. Being freed from anxiety issues through therapy could be the best gift for a child and a family. The ARS Chapters provide most of the support for the counseling center located at the ARS Glendale headquarters.
“The Armenian-American community has an impressive history of responding to the charitable needs of people all over the world, wherever the needs may be,” Poladian exclaimed. “All dedicated and compassionate ARS supporters are urged to make a donation. Any amount will make a difference.”
To contribute, send donations to the ARS of Western USA, Regional Executive, 517 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, CA 91202-2812. Credit card donations are also accepted by phone or on-line at http://www.arswestusa.org/Donate