Artsakh Fundraiser Exceeds Expectations!
On Saturday, October 28, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian, Pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church, of Providence, Rhode Island, and the Board of Trustees hosted a steak dinner fundraiser at the Aramian Auditorium to help the displaced people of Artsakh under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate, who was also in attendance, as well as Archpriest Gomidas Baghsarian, former church pastor. The initial fundraising goal of $10,000 was more than doubled thanks to the generosity of parishioners and friends.
Previously, the Sts. Vartanantz Board of Trustees was planning on having a steak dinner in order to raise funds for capital improvements. As news came flooding into our community about the conditions and needs of the Artsakh people, the Board of Trustees quickly changed their original plans and increased the donation price to maximize the efforts to support our brothers and sisters in Armenia.
Board of Trustees Chairman Levon Attarian served as master of ceremonies. He thanked the community for and pointed out the banner that the Homenetmen Scouts had created that morning, with the image of the Mamig and Babig monument in Stepanakert and the handprints of all the scouts to symbolize children reaching out to “touch” the hands of their peers of Artsakh. Mr. Attarian then read a letter of support from Rhode Island Senator David Tikoian.
Rev. Fr. Kapriel spoke of how touched he was by the community again opening its heart, answering this the call for action, and thanked the Board of Trustees for quickly converting this into a fundraising event. He also thanked his brother in Christ, Rev. Fr. Gomidas, for attending. He had special words of appreciation for His Eminence for agreeing to be the guest speaker even if he had just returned from Armenia. The Prelate offered words of encouragement and said that this was not a time to lose hope, but to know that one day the people of Artsakh will go back home. He said how after 5000 years the indigenous people of Artsakh were robbed of their homeland. Azerbaijan’s oil will not last forever, he said, but the will and determination of the Artsakhties will. He drew a parallel with the travails and tribulations of Job, who had everything taken away from him, but his faith in God never wavered, as we read in the Old Testament. This, the Prelate said, is comparable to our situation today. Now more than ever, it is the time to have strong faith, hope, and love, and to provide the same towards our brothers and sisters in Artsakh.
The initial target was to raise $10,000, yet true to form, the community of Sts. Vartanantz church accepted the call to action with over 100 people attending the sold-out fundraiser und many other members of the community sent generous donations. Including the $2,000 that was already collected from the Food Festival in September, the Sts. Vartanantz community raised a little over $25,000.