The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Cambridge "Shushi" Chapter met on May 7th, where more than 200 people gathered to celebrate Mother's Day. Guests traveled from both Providence, RI and the greater Boston community to share in laughs and excitement, both of which were mainly provided by popular comedian Dottie Bengoian. She is commonly known by many of her fans as the "Armenian Queen of Comedy" and the "Ambassador of Joy." She certainly lived up to her title.
A portion of the luncheon was dedicated to the "Year of Service," declared by Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. President of the "Shushi" chapter, Ungherouhi Heather Krafian, was the host of the event and offered congratulatory words to those in the crowd who have given many years of service and dedication to both the ARS and the nation of Armenia. The group shared in a toast: "With the people, for the people!"
For over 106 years the ARS has been serving the Armenian community. Two guests of honor were Armen Lachinain-Ferrel and Ungerouhis Rosemary Khachadoorian, who received recognition for serving the ARS Cambridge "Shushi" Chapter for over 40 years. They each were presented a bouquet of flowers and a personalized ARS bangle as tokens of gratitude. The latter of these items were handcrafted by ARS member Ungerouhi Nicole Alashaian of the Bergen County, N.J. Chapter. Although unable to attend, a letter from Khachadoorian was read aloud, announcing her sincere thanks to the foundation for acknowledging her years of service as well as her generous donation of $300 towards the ARS "Artsakh Fund."
This set the stage for more fundraising. Guests were notified they could make contributions to the ARS "Artsakh Fund" through donations in exchange for drinks, and around $775 was raised at the bar. The chapter announced they would contribute an additional $225, making for an impressive total donation of $1,000. On top of that, another $2,250 was collected from many benefactors in the crowd and will be added to the Artsakh Treasury on the ARS Cambridge "Shushi" Chapter's behalf.
Festivities and monetary support continued with a Mother's Day raffle, whose proceeds went directly to the fundraising initiative for the ARS Sosse Kindergarten, located in Stepanakert, Artsakh. Other generous donations were made as well, including a diamond ring valued at $1,200 from HR Jewelers and a $550 freshwater pearl necklace from Artinian Jewelers. Funds raised for the Sosse Kindergarten impressively amounted to over $1,300.
All in all, the Mother's Day luncheon and fundraiser was tremendously successful. Thanks to the generosity of all those who attended a handful of charitable ARS endeavors will receive full funding. As stated by Krafian in her closing remarks, the gathering is not just a fundraiser, rather a "Friendraiser." All who attended showed support for ideals of the ARS through their donations and positivity. New friendships were made, and new appreciations for the ARS were developed even by guests who were not yet ARS members. Members and non-members alike were encouraged to aid in the social, humanitarian, and educational needs of the Armenian community worldwide.