Thank you for participating in the In His Shoes Annual Toy Drive. I’m pleased to share with you that both parts – local and Armenia – have been completed, and completed very successfully.
When we started our campaign this year, we were uncertain of how it would turn out, considering the restrictions we faced because of the pandemic and the dire situation in Armenia. But, once again this year, thanks to your generosity we were able to provide holiday cheer to thousands of children.
Our local distribution took place through Burbank Family Services. The holiday season can be very difficult for families suffering difficulties and in need. Isolation and loneliness take their toll especially on the innocent children who get caught up in tragedies of domestic violence, negligence or separation from parents. Our partnership with Family Services gives us a unique position in providing for the needs in our own backyard. Children who would otherwise only dream of a happy holiday, woke up Christmas morning to toys and special treats. Our thanks to those of you who provided toys, and especially to Stock California for their generosity and for facilitating collections.
This year, in the aftermath of the war in Artsakh, we added a second component to our Toy Drive by collecting for the children in Armenia. These are the young members of displaced families, as well as children who have lost a parent during the war. Money collected was distributed through the Humanitarian Relief initiative of the Western Diocese to aid Displaced families of Artsakh. With clergy and volunteers on the ground, be certain that toys and treats were purchased and distributed to bring a smile to the faces of children who should never have known such pain and suffering.
Our annual Toy Drive is conducted in memory of Yvette Hakopian, a young lady who lost her life because of domestic violence. Tens of thousands of toys have been collected through the years to share holiday cheer with children who are the innocent bystanders and suffer the consequences of a dysfunctional world. Christmas, more than any other holiday, is a time for children to believe in love and the wonder that comes with it. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of these children. You may visit our website or our Facebook page for pictures and details from our distributions.
With best wishes for the coming New Year. May the blessings of the Christ Child bring health and hope to your lives and peace to our hurting world.
Fr. Vazken Movsesian