7th Annual Victor Ghirra Toy Drive kicks off

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STORY 3 ITEM 14 Photo 1
 
Victor Ghirra’s kids.
 
BENEVOLENT Brotherhood Society (BBS) is helping the Ghirra family, the Co-operators Insurance branches and Vancity branches organize a toy drive in memory of Victor Ghirra.

This will be the 7th annual Victor Ghirra Toy Drive – in memory of the man with a golden heart.  Newly wrapped toys can be dropped off at Riverside Banquet Hall, Vancity and all the Co-operators Insurance branches from December 1 to 14.

The toys will be distributed to the following organizations: Children’s Hospital, Richmond Christmas Fund, Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau, Keys Solutions (helping families in Whalley) and GirlKind Organization (helping girls in India).

Over the last six years, Victor’s name has been kept alive in the community by:

* Over 11,650-plus toys collected for Children’s Hospital, Lower Mainland Salvation Army, Richmond Christmas Fund, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau and an orphanage in Kenya.

* Victor honoured by the Trinjan Society for his community work

* $500 donation to the Richmond Fire Fighters Global Village project in Victor’s name

* “Victor Ghirra Scholarship Community Award” created by the Ghirra family at McNair Secondary School, awarding $500 to a deserving graduating student since 2008.

Victor was involved in many charitable initiatives, but one charity that Victor was really touched by was the BC Children’s Hospital.  A heart-warming 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 found out that Victor 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.

“Sitting amongst the hundreds of mourners at Victor’s funeral in October there was one thing that was clear:  his giving spirit must live on.  Speech after speech, in one of the most emotional funerals anyone has been to, all resonated the same feelings; it was not fair that Victor left this world at the tender age of 37,” says Harvey Kooner, co-founder of BBS.

Victor’s brother Bobby Ghirra says: “My younger brother Victor … you cannot imagine looking at Victor, without looking at that smile, the smile that could make a slow morning brighter or stressful day peaceful because it renewed my sense of hope. The meaning of the smile will never lose its power, it will forever warm my heart in the coldest of times.”

Everyone is encouraged to bring new and unwrapped gifts to the following locations:

* Riverside Hall, 14500 River Road, Richmond, www.riversidepalace.com.

* Bobby Ghirra, 604-244-7755, bobby@riversidehalls.com

* All Co-operators Insurance branches in the Lower Mainland

* Vancity (36th and Victoria branch)

* Corrina Pitacco, 604-877.-023, corrina.pitacco@vancity.com