By Robert Serabian
HAVERHILL, Mass. – The recent 44-day war in Artsakh caused unimaginable death and destruction to our people and their homes. This is the story of how a small church helped in a big way in providing assistance to eleven families who were recently affected as a result of the conflict.
The Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe Men’s Club in Haverhill MA, at the suggestion of its pastor, Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, dedicated its spring outreach project to assisting families in Artsakh by raising over $2,000 from its members, and the church community. The group then reviewed the best options for delivering the aid to the people in need. At first it was decided to purchase the supplies and send them to Armenia. However, it was determined that the transportation costs would be expensive and the delivery timeline would be three months or longer – not an option. The Hye Pointe’s Men’s club was able to obtain names of 11 families who were in most need from the Armenian Ministry of Defense through the help of Fr. Hrachia Gyozalyan, the pastor of Holy Cross Armenian Church in Yerevan. In the eleven families were the names of parents and women whose sons and husbands had died in the Artsakh conflict.
Fr. Hrachia visited the 11 families and asked what their immediate needs were, whether it be financial or basic food necessities. He told the families that a church Men’s Club in America would help with their needs but not provide direct financial assistance. Hye Pointe’s Men’s Club was able to provide necessary assistance to these families, paying their utility bills, and in addition each family received one bag of personal hygiene supplies and four bags of food consisting of cooking oil, flour, grains, and other non-perishable food items.
At the March 11 Hye Pointe Men’s Club meeting, which was held over Zoom, Fr. Vart read the letters from the 11 families thanking the Hye Pointe Men’s Club, and the Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe community for their help and generosity in their time of need. Der Hayr along with others became emotional as the letters were being read. It was gratifying and poignant especially during our time of Lent that the adage “help to our fellow brethren” was manifested by our act of kindness 5,000 miles away from the conflict in Artsakh.