BY KNAR KAHKEJIAN
FRESNO—Christmas is a time for family, friends, love, and happiness. For most of us who are fortunate enough to live in the United States, many can recall vivid childhood memories filled with toys that we had wished for from Santa.
Unfortunately, for every person that can account for one such memory, there’s a child, in Armenia, that has experienced an entire childhood, let alone Christmas, without these extravagant presents. Although we experience poverty here in the States, it will never come close to the poverty experienced in many cities throughout Armenia. Toys are not a necessity, they’re a luxury. Most children cannot even play with soccer balls, dolls, or put together puzzles because their families simply cannot afford it. Then there are those living in orphanages. What about their childhood? Why should they not experience being a kid and be given the opportunity to play?
This is where the Diaspora steps in. For the past four years, the AYF Fresno “Kevork Chavoush” chapter has worked relentlessly to reverse the process of “growing up” for many underprivileged children living in Armenia, Artsakh, and most recently added, Javakhk. There was no excuse as to why these kids should have a Christmas without toys. Thus, the Toy Drive was born, whose purpose is to send new, unopened toys to less fortunate children in Armenia.
Starting early December 2011, the Fresno AYF chapter put on their annual Toy Drive and collected toys all throughout the Central Valley. Many local businesses agreed to have a box placed at their location to help with the collecting of toys. The chapter even received monetary donations to purchase toys on behalf of the donors. Once the Toy Drive was complete, there was a total of 350 plus toys collected. It’s amazing to see people reaching out and donating, although economically, most people are going through a rough patch.
The AYF Fresno “Kevork Chavoush” chapter would like to personally thank everyone for all their help, donations, and time given for the sake of the Toy Drive. It was a very successful event and we hope to double that number in the future. If you would like to help our chapter next year by placing a donation box in your place of business, or even by donating toys, please contact us at (559) 696-8358. We’ll keep your information ready and handy for the forthcoming Toy Drive.