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.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

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.






Featured

A Bangladeshi policeman escorts Jikrullah, left and Ariful Islam, two among  three suspected of the killing of a blogger as they are presented before the media in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Monday, March 30, 2015. AP Photo/ A.M. Ahad

Blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh’s capital, 2 Islamic school students detained

JULHAS ALAM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DHAKA, Bangladesh — A blogger was hacked to death by three men in Bangladesh’s capital on Monday, and two of…
Continue Reading »

In this photo taken in October 2012, Associated Press reporter Kathy Gannon, second from left, and photographer Anja Niedringhaus pose for a photo with Afghan police recruits at the main police training academy in Kabul, Afghanistan. AP Photo

Afghan police officer sentenced to 20 years for killing AP photographer and wounding reporter

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KABUL — Afghanistan’s highest court has ruled that the police officer convicted of murdering Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP…
Continue Reading »

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

U.S., Mexico sign climate co-operation deal as Canada stalls on UN emissions bid

By Bruce Cheadle THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Harper government is temporarily standing on the sidelines as international negotiations ramp up for a United…
Continue Reading »

US-Mexico sign climate co-operation deal as Canada stalls on UN emissions bid

By Bruce Cheadle THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Harper government is temporarily standing on the sidelines as international negotiations ramp up for a United…
Continue Reading »

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

World Cup final

Underarm incident recalled as Australia-New Zealand rivalry rekindles in World Cup final

STEVE MCMORRAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Relations between New Zealand and Australia at a political level have regained their natural cordiality in the…
Continue Reading »

Cricket World Cup

Clarke’s Australians prepare to take on unpopular role in the World Cup final vs New Zealand

JOHN PYE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Win or lose, Michael Clarke and his Australian teammates are probably going to be portrayed as the…
Continue Reading »

India-Australia-weird news

Youth cut his tongue as sacrifice at an Indian temple for nation’s cricket victory

IANS Chennai – In a senseless act, a cricket crazy youth in Tamil Nadu offered the tip of his tongue as a sacrifice at a…
Continue Reading »

Freedom-Section 66A-India

Teenager shoots himself after father bans Facebook chat

IANS Lucknow - A 14-year-old boy shot himself Thursday after his father reprimanded him for chatting too often on social networking site Facebook, police said. The…
Continue Reading »

messy custody battle-desi lingerie model

Jeremy Renner’s messy divorce from B.C. model gets messier as custody battle rages

VANCOUVER DESI A B.C. woman who was married to Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner is being accused of being a gold digger and blackmailer who has…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

pakistani sex meera-Veena Malik

Gallery: Bollywood celebs in trouble with the law

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI Indian film actress Shruti Haasan has run into legal trouble after she pulled out of a signed contract, according to an…
Continue Reading »

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Bollywood actor Salman Khan denies he was driving or drunk during 2002 accident

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Friday told a Mumbai court, conducting the trial of the 2002 hit-and-run case involving him, that he…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood movie

Amitabh Bachchan: Balki challenges me with never-done-before roles

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai – R. Balakrishnan and Amitabh Bachchan’s much anticipated third outing “Shamitabh” turned out to be a box office disaster, but…
Continue Reading »