The Season for Giving (of Yourself)

It’s that time of year again. The word “donation” is everywhere. It can be bewildering. You are besieged by charities seeking financial assistance. Your heart is in the right place. Shopping malls have bell ringers with the red kettle waiting for your change—clink, clink. Your church conveniently encloses an envelope; it seems like a never-ending challenge for them to make ends meet.

Sometimes you are hard pressed to decide what the best choice is. As Armenians you already know all Armenian organizations welcome your goodwill. The Salvation Army, too, always seems to get a good report for dollars actually helping the needy as opposed to administrative costs.

You picture yourself on a tropical cruise. Perhaps your desire is to escape to a warmer climate to sun yourself on a chaise lounge while sipping a rum drink as you stare at the ocean’s waves.

You consider your grandchildren, whom you want to shower with gifts, and their very important future college fund. Perhaps you are in a position to do all of this, but what about giving to the well being of our brave men and women who fought in the Middle East and came home with physical and mental disabilities? Their lives will never be the same. They fought for our freedom but too often we hear of the very slow assistance they are getting from our government, which has billions to float to foreign countries but neglects our veterans. This is the saddest situation of all.

You’re surrounded by many good causes asking for financial support. With Christmas so near, why not make this newspaper, the Armenian Weekly, a top choice? Perhaps the recipient of your goodwill could be an elderly person living on a fixed budget who has to choose between food and medication instead of renewing their subscription. Ask around and surely you’ll find someone who would be thrilled to get the gift of the Armenian Weekly. Perhaps a member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) or a college student would appreciate a gift subscription.

There is a certain pleasure derived in holding a newspaper in your hands that is not the same experience you get from reading the online version.

Julie DerManuelian was gifted a life-long subscription to the Weekly by her father Steve Karadian years ago. She says, “I look forward to getting that paper in the mail every week, holding it in my hands while I sit down to read it. I love reading the news and events in the Armenian Weekly and think of my father as I do. He loved that newspaper and believed in supporting it.”

The Weekly is full of interesting commentary, photos, top-notch political news, columns, and local community events.

Attorney Ed Haroutunian has had the benefit of an Armenian Weekly subscription for decades. The former AYF member says, “The paper is worth the price. Newspapers are important for peoples’ views to be expressed. It helps keep me in the know about the political atmosphere in Armenia, and that is important to me.”

Newspapers are a vanishing breed vital for us to be an informed society. Please don’t take freedom of the press for granted, especially the Weekly. As people of Armenian heritage, we should be especially cognizant of the meaning of freedom and its benefits. The Republic of Armenia has not been a free democracy all that long, and it was and is the Armenian Weekly that stood by her fighting for a free and independent state through all the years she was part of the Soviet Union. Keep the Weekly on its feet by renewing or giving a subscription to someone. Open their minds with all the valuable reporting it contains.

The Hairenik Daily was so important to our parents, the genocide survivors, that if for some reason it did not arrive, they would get agitated, instructing their children to complain about  delayed delivery to the U.S. Post Office.

You’ll be strengthening the resources of fine papers by subscribing. Also think of the Armenian Weekly and the Hairenik as recipients for “in lieu of flowers” for a deceased friend or family member, for special anniversaries, and birthdays, too. You’ll be supporting a good cause, the Armenian Cause.

It would be a disgrace to the freedom fighters and their sacrifice, if the Weekly were to close down. Please help keep the great tradition of this newspaper rolling.

It is also important to support the Mirror Spectator. It, too, serves an important role in the community.

There is no doubt the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) needs your support, as well as all its umbrella organizations, such as the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) and the Armenian Youth Federation.

The Detroit ARF’s recent annual celebration was again a huge success with more than 500 people attending their dinner-dance. Internationally they have been in the hearts and minds of Armenians, never forgetting the ARF’s leadership was always in the forefront, fighting for a free and independent Armenia and giving reverence to the tricolor. The ARF is here to represent all the Armenian people with accountability.

The ARS, too, has become a more sophisticated organization with far-reaching tentacles into the fabric of many phases of charitable work benefiting the Armenian people. It has established an outstanding world-class reputation recognized for its valiant work supporting the needy and teaching the Armenian language.

The Armenian Youth Federation and the Hamazkayin Cultural Organization stand tall in furthering the Armenian Cause. We would be lost and ineffectual without the youth movement following in the footsteps of the ARF and ARS.

The recent AYF Olympics Ad Book showcased the love and support of many generations of Armenians and businesses.

We have the Salvation Army and American Red Cross worthy of financial support, too. I especially want to include worthy organizations taking up the cause to saving animals on the endangered list. Poaching is rampant, especially in Africa where so many of God’s creatures such as elephants, lions, tigers, leopards, and ocelots are killed for pelts and ivory by mankind’s greed.

Why should any animal be killed for a fur pelt to become a coat when sheep can be sheared with no loss of life? Pure vanity and selfishness. Does any person look more attractive because they are wearing animal fur?

Another charity worthy of consideration are those hospitals dedicated to the healing of sick children. Nothing can break a heart more than the sight of an ailing child trying to recover from a life-threatening disease. They surely deserve your dollars and prayers, too. Suggestions: St. Jude Hospital and the Shriners.

The local Animal Rescue League and Humane Society should never be overlooked. They save the lives of many unwanted pets. If giving a pet as a Christmas gift, please give thought to what you are doing. Select carefully. As a member of the human race, be kind, sympathetic, and wise in your decision.

Be a hero to a veteran, endangered animals, the ARF, its organizations and neglected children. Pat yourself on the back for your generosity during the season for giving.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with my appreciation and love for making Michigan Hye Beat one of the Weekly’s most read columns. Please continue your subscription and send a friend a gift of one also. Until we meet again, tsedesutiun.

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Betty Apigian-Kessel

Betty (Serpouhie) Apigian Kessel was born in Pontiac, Mich. Together with her husband, Robert Kessel, she was the proprietor of Woodward Market in Pontiac and has two sons, Bradley and Brant Kessel. She belonged to the St. Sarkis Ladies Guild for 12 years, serving as secretary for many of those years. During the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the Detroit community selected her to be the English-language secretary and she happily dedicated her efforts to help the earthquake victims. She has a column in the Armenian Weekly entitled “Michigan High Beat.”

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