By Anahid M. Ugurlayan
On Dec. 8, a sold-out crowd gathered at Almayass Restaurant in New York City for a fundraiser luncheon hosted by the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) New York “Mayr” Chapter. More than $5,000 was raised in support of the ARS’s “Warm Home” Program, which provides fuel to help Syrian-Armenian families heat their homes during the winter months.
Anais Tcholakian, the chapter chairperson, welcomed the guests and thanked them for supporting the Society’s ongoing relief efforts to Syria’s Armenians. She also thanked chapter members for organizing the luncheon; Voice of Armenians TV for their coverage of the luncheon; and Almayass’s owner, Varak Alexanian, its manager, Mario Arakelian, and the entire staff for their gracious hospitality and support of the ARS.
Guests observed a moment of silence in remembrance of the 25th anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Armenia that claimed more than 25,000 victims, as well as in memory of His Eminence Archbishop Mesrob Ashjian, former Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America (Eastern), on the 10th anniversary of his passing.
Houri Geudelekian, a member of the “Mayr” Chapter and ARS UN Coordinator, talked about the ARS’s mission—since 1910—to serve the humanitarian, educational, and cultural needs of the Armenian people throughout the world and its work as a non-governmental organization (NGO) at the UN. She lauded members’ immediate response to relief efforts for the civil war in Syria, as well as victims for natural disasters worldwide, most recently the Typhoon Haiyan. She also noted that 10 percent of the luncheon proceeds would be donated to Typhoon Haiyan relief.
Following Geudelekian’s remarks, Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Cathedral, delivered the invocation. He said he admired the work of the ARS and thanked attendees for their support of Syria’s Armenians.
Guests were regaled by a surprise performance by renowned singer Vicken Tarpinian, and danced to the latest Armenian music courtesy of DJ Khajag. No luncheon could be complete without a raffle, and this year’s raffle included many novelty items.
For more information about the ARS, visit www.ars1910.org.