DELAFIELD, Wis.—The Wisconsin chapter of the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) is closing 2016 with a bang.
The chapter raised $40,000 at its June golf outing on behalf of needy Armenian orphans in Syria and Armenia. Close to $5000 additional was raised this month in a special Christmas appeal.
The seventh annual Wisconsin fundraiser was a golf tournament held at Meadowbrook Country Club, Racine, on June 11. Perfect weather greeted 75 registered golfers. Following the tournament, over 125 local Armenians and friends gathered at the country club for a banquet catered by Di Carlo’s.
“Our Christmas appeal was a great success,” said Mary Kay Hajinian, Wisconsin chapter president. “SOAR-Wisconsin has a passion for ensuring that the kids in these orphanages enjoy a Christmas party and receive gifts each year. Our Christmas appeal made it possible for us to fund parties at 13 orphanages this year.”
Over the past two years Wisconsin has sent over $20,000 in humanitarian aid to orphans in war-torn Syria. In addition to the 13 Christmas parties, in 2016 the Wisconsin chapter also funded capital needs for an orphanage in Ainjar, Lebanon, and supported orphanage dental clinics in Armenia, a summer camp for orphans in Tsaghkadzor sponsored by the Armenian Prelacy, and special projects at Warm Hearth, Zadik, and Dzorak facilities in Armenia.
In 2013 and again in 2015, Wisconsin committee members visited some of the facilities in Armenia that have benefited from our support. “Many of these children have special needs,” said Dr. Chuck Hajinian, a Milwaukee dentist who started the orphanage support effort with Dr. Levon Saryan in 2010. “There comes a time when you stop focusing on your kids and your job. Then someone shows you a picture of an Armenian orphan. Maybe he is handicapped, waking up with a nightmare, with no mom or dad. You think, but for the grace of God that could be my child. And then you remember, a hundred years ago my grandmother was one of them. I felt that I had to help.”
Wisconsin SOAR is directed by Mary Kay Hajinian and Casey Aghjian. Numerous volunteers, friends and family members have also lent their efforts to the success of our chapter. Based in Philadelphia, SOAR now has dozens of chapters across the USA and in many countries around the world. SOAR is the only relief organization focusing specifically on the needs of orphans, providing material and moral support for Armenian orphans worldwide and helps to address their unique needs. 100% of donations are distributed to worthwhile orphan projects.
“Over the past six-and-a-half years, the Wisconsin SOAR committee has raised more than $200,000 in charitable donations within Wisconsin,” said Dr. Hajinian. “We are very proud of this accomplishment, which, considering the small size of the Armenian community of southeastern Wisconsin, is nothing short of remarkable.”
Year-end donations to SOAR-Wisconsin are still being gratefully accepted. Checks may be mailed to SOAR-Wisconsin, c/o Dr. Levon Saryan, PO Box 210313, Milwaukee, Wis. 53221-8006.