VICTOR Ghirra’s giving spirit is alive and well with help from the Benevolent Brotherhood Society, Ghirra family, the Co-operators Insurance agencies and Vancity Credit Union who all pitched in to gather more than 3,500 toys in Richmond on Saturday afternoon.
The toy drive dedicated to the man with the golden heart inspired people from across the Lower Mainland to give and put smiles on thousands of children’s faces for Christmas this year. Michael, Bobby and Sanj Ghirra, Victor’s brothers, were very pleased at the turnout this year: “Victor’s kind acts have inspired so many. More and more people hear our brother’s story and they feel inspired to give. We believe because our brother Victor was such a genuine, kind person it is so hard to find anyone ever like him.”
Riverside Palace Banquet Hall was decorated with plenty of holiday cheer. Santa Claus himself made an appearance and was eager to take photos with guests. Guests were welcomed with treats and kids hopped into the bouncy castle as generous individuals made their drops and were assisted by volunteers.
Victor was involved in many charitable initiatives, but one charity that Victor was really touched by was BC Children’s Hospital. A heartwarming story that depicts Victor’s character was when he would every Christmas, buy thousands of dollars of toys and go to Children’s Hospital to donate them to needy children. When they would ask, “Who are you and where are these toys from – which organization?” Victor would simply reply, “It doesn’t matter who I am or where I am from, these toys are for the kids and that’s all you need to know.” It was later discovered that Victor had made trips to the hospital for over a dozen years. Victor was just being Victor, he didn’t tell anyone what he was up to.
Joe Casciano, Associate Recruiting Manager with the Co-operators said: “The Co-operators District and Agency staff is very proud to once again support the toy drive. This year with the help of our clients, our staff was able to purchase over 150 new toys. Staff also generously donated funds used to purchase toys for the event.”
The toy drive was able to help nine charities this year: Children’s Hospital, Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau, Key Solutions, Richmond Christmas Fund, Guru Nanak Free Kitchen, Helping Hands, Options BC, Canuck Place, Nightshift Ministries – Care Centre as well as a local Richmond elementary school for families in need. This was the 8th annual Victor Ghirra Toy Drive and in the last eight years, over 22,150 toys have been collected in memory of Victor.
Vancity branches once again gave back. Harj Bath from the 47th and Fraser Street Vancity branch advised: “Our members donated funds and toys. We also had a ‘take a picture with Santa’ event where members donated funds or toys to take a picture. We’re looking forward to giving back next year to this worthwhile cause.”
Harvey Kooner of BBS added: “For me it was amazing to see how the efforts of many individuals and teams came together to make such an impact yet once again. This impact will be felt by nine great causes this year and we will continue to strive to make bigger impacts each and every year. All it takes is one person wanting to make a difference and it can be done.”
For more information on how you can make a difference in next year’s toy drive, contact: The Benevolent Brotherhood Society: Harvey Kooner, 604-671-4180, h[email protected]