CHRISTMAS: Generous man’s legacy lives on his annual toy drive

Published: December 5, 2012

Last year, the annual initiative expanded to providing toys to orphans in Kenya. Submitted photo.


It’s been six years since Victor Ghirra suddenly passed away, but his giving spirit lives on in Richmond.

Ghirra’s unexpected death at the age of 37 was a shock to the community, where he was widely known for his many charitable initiatives — especially his donations of thousands of dollars worth of toys to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Family and friends refused to forget his generosity, so they developed the Victor Ghirra Toy Drive: “In memory of the man with the golden heart.”

Since its creation more than 9,650 toys have been collected in Victor’s name and donated to B.C. Children’s Hospital, Lower Mainland Salvation Army, Richmond Christmas Fund, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau and an orphanage in Kenya.

It was at Victor’s funeral that Harvey Kooner, with the Benevolent Brotherhood Society, decided the charity should be created.

“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,” said Kooner. “I decided then and there this can’t happen this way — we should honour his legacy.”

And now in its sixth year, it’s still going strong.

Victor was one of four brothers and had four kids of his own.

“It helps having the drive, it helps having family support,” said his brother, Micheal Ghirra. “Everyone moves on, I guess — we’re all going to move on to our next life.

“(But) it’s been good having this yearly thing — just continuing his legacy, it’s just a reminder that he was around. It’s a good thing … The more we remember the better we feel.”

To donate to the charity and continue Ghirra’s legacy, new and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Riverside Banquet Hall, Vancity and all The Co-operaters Insurance Branches up until Dec. 7th.

On Dec. 8 the Ghirra family will be at the Riverside Banquet Hall in Richmond for the final toy count. All toys will then be donated to B.C. Children’s Hospital, Richmond Christmas Fund, Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau and South Fraser Community Services Society.

For the Ghirras, the annual event is a time for family and giving back to the community — which is what Victor would have wanted.

“He’s not with us, but we’re still together,” said Micheal.



Video: Rescue story of a dog that fell into hot tar and turned into a rock

VANCOUVER DESI A team of animal rescuers in Western India spent two days working to free a helpless dog trapped in a pile of hot…
Continue Reading »


Surrey Sikh temple hit-and-run still a mystery after two years

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY — Surrey Mounties believe somebody must have seen something that can help investigators solve a hit-and-run crash that happened two…
Continue Reading »


Kids sweatshirts made in Pakistan and sold at Kroger, Fred Meyer stores in the U.S. recalled for choking hazard

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — Nearly 8,000 children’s hoodies are being recalled because of a possible choking risk. No injuries have been reported, but…
Continue Reading »


Global index ranks Norway tops, Afghanistan worst for well-being of older citizens

By David Crary THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — Canada ranks fourth when it comes to the well-being of its older residents, according to a…
Continue Reading »

Canada’s disaster assistance team ill-suited to help Ebola crisis, Harper says

THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team isn’t well-suited to be of much help in the unfolding…
Continue Reading »

Canada’s disaster assistance team ill-suited to help Ebola crisis, Harper says

THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team isn’t well-suited to be of much help in the unfolding…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

body image-beauty-weight-control

Self-compassion leads to positive body image in women

IANS Toronto – Women who accept and tolerate their bodily imperfections appear to have a more positive body image despite their high body mass index…
Continue Reading »

British comedian John Oliver takes aim at Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's U.S. visit on his HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. YouTube/Screengrab.

British comedian John Oliver again covers Indian politics in HBO show, takes aim at Modi’s U.S. visit (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI British comedian John Oliver has covered Indian politics yet again on his new HBO show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In this…
Continue Reading »


Last remaining family member of Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh dies in Toronto

IANS Chandigarh — The younger sister and last remaining blood relative of revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh has died in Canada, according to relatives in…
Continue Reading »

Komagata Maru

India honours 100-year anniversary of Komagata Maru with commemorative coins

IANS New Delhi — India on Monday released a set of special coins as part of a year-long centenary commemoration of the 1914 Komagata Maru…
Continue Reading »

Sandy Sidhu main.jpg

Nanaimo’s Sandy Sidhu to appear in film at VIFF, but the actress is still waiting for her big break

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It took years for Nanaimo’s Sandy Sidhu to admit that she was an aspiring actress. Enrolled at UBC for cell biology…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest

Shah Rukh Khan Deepika Padukone Bollywood sex

Shah Rukh Khan: My films are never male-oriented (w/gallery)

HINDUSTAN TIMES Shah Rukh Khan may be a name big enough to make a film a blockbuster on his own, but he says that his…
Continue Reading »

Sonam Kapoor

Gallery: 10 celebs who did not let diabetes rule their lives

VANCOUVER DESI Did you know Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor has been living with Diabetes from her teen years? And her Pakistani co-star in Khoobsurat — Fawad…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Indian court blocks 72 websites from streaming Bollywood movie ‘Bang Bang’

IANS New Delhi – The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed various internet and telecom service providers to block access to 72 websites hosting the yet-to-be…
Continue Reading »