Armenian community members across the Western United States have gathered at local Armenian centers to provide assistance to community members by dropping off groceries at people’s homes or by taking to social media to provide updates on the latest developments and guidelines related to the COVID-19 crisis.
Soon after the “shelter in place” guidelines were in place in Los Angeles County, the Armenian Community COVID-19 task force was formed to assist the community during the crisis and to provide much-needed supplies to those staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee, along with representatives from the Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian National Committee of America – Western US, Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Armenian Youth Federation of Western US, Armenian Youth Federation Juniors, ARF Shant Student Association, Homenetmen (Armenian General Athletic Union and Scouts of Western US, Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural & Educational Society, the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Board of Regents of the Prelacy Armenian Schools have all taken an active role in this task force.
In its efforts to keep the community connected and to provide assistance to those in need, the Armenian Community Covid-19 Task Force has created a helpline at (818) 507-1933 and a website for community members to find Coronavirus related resources pertaining to health, employees, students, businesses, seniors, renters, and homeowners.
The Covid-19 Armenian Community Task Force through the generous donation from Los Angeles-area business owners Kev Kouyoumjian, along with his brother Vic Kouyoumjian and their father Jacques Kouyoumjian, distributed thousands of masks to the local community. This effort was initiated in line with guidelines announced by L.A. County and City leadership urging people to wear face masks to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Many of the masks were donated to the medical staff at Glendale Adventist Hospital, with its distribution being facilitated through the ARS. Other masks are being used byr volunteers and those helping distribute vital supplies to the community.
From Glendale and Hollywood, to Pasadena, Orange County and Granda Hills, ARF chapters mobilized their members and alongside volunteers from affiliate organizations, such as the ARS and AYF, came together at local centers to prepare care packages to be delivered to community members who have reached on the COVID-19 task force hotline requesting assistance.
To date more than 500 grocery and supply bags have been delivered in various communities across Los Angeles.
On Monday, Little Armenia’s ACF Hollywood Youth Center was filled with volunteers—all keeping in line with social distancing guidelines and wearing protective gear—who were joined by the pastor of St. Garabed Armenian Church Archpriest Vicken Vassilian to prepare care packages of donated groceries and other critical materials, which were delivered to residents in the Little Armenia neighborhood of Los Angeles.
FOX 11 News was on hand to capture how Armenian community members were coming together help each other and aired a segment by reporter Araksya Karapetyan on the channel’s Good Day LA program. Horizon Armenian Television was also there and reported on the local community efforts as part of its ongoing reports on the COVID-19 crisis.
In mid-March a similar scene took shape at the Melkon and Angel Melkonian Youth Center in Granada Hills, where members of the ARF Arshavir Shiragian chapter initiated an outreach effort to gauge the needs and community members and to deliver needed supplies to their doorsteps.
Over in Glendale, the Krikor and Mariam Karamanoukian Glendale Youth Center has been a bevy of activity, with ARF Aharonian chapter members leading the charge to keep the community informed, while at the same time, provide assistance to those in need.
The center also hosted a blood drive, as the American Red Cross has issued a call for blood donations during the COVID-19 crisis.
In Pasadena’s Hovhannes and Hripsime Jivalagian Youth Center, a similar scene has unfolded and members of the ARF Lernavayr chapter have brought together volunteers from across the community to not only prepare the care packages but also to deliver the goods to residents and community members.
In Burbank’s Beshir Mardirossian Burbank Youth Center, members of the ARF Aghbalian gomideh teamed up with the local ARS Araz chapter, whose members had decided to sew face masks to be included in the care packages being delivered to Burbank residents. At the Meher and Satig Der Ohanessian Youth Center, ARF Zavarian chapter members, with the participation of the local sister organizations, came together to gather materials, with each person leaving center carrying bags of supplies to be dropped off at people’s houses. The ARF Montebello Dro, Valley Rosdom and North Hollywood Papken Seuni chapters all took part in efforts to assist their immediate community members with a message that the task force will continue its activities until the COVID-19 crisis is over, well after county and local officials determine to reopen Los Angeles.
The Armenian Community COVID-19 Task Force is calling on community members to join its efforts either by volunteering or donating to its efforts.