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

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.


Selfies - inked finger-Twitter

Indian city bans selfies inside polling booths (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI The next selfie you snap could land you in jail – for Indian voters at least. According to Indian news publication the Bangalore…
Continue Reading »


Six-year-old worshipped for patch of hair on his back that has grown into a tail

VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old Indian boy is being worshipped by villagers for a small patch of hair on his back that has grown into a…
Continue Reading »

Rahul Gandhi

India Elections: Rahul Gandhi attacks Narendra Modi’s ‘toffee model’

IANS Agra – Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi kept up his attack on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s “toffee model” of development that only…
Continue Reading »


Police tape off a residence at 3319 Kingsway in Vancouver, BC, April 14, 2014 after police shot a man who stabbed a woman and child. Arlen Redekop / PNG

Shot murder suspect under guard in hospital

IAN AUSTIN VANCOUVER DESI VANCOUVER - A 33-year-old Vancouver man has been charged with the murder of his mother and the attempted murder of his niece….
Continue Reading »

Stephen Harper-Canada-Prime Minister

Sri Lanka accuses Canada of using Commonwealth funding as political tool

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka accused Canada on Tuesday of using its funding of the Commonwealth for political purposes. The accusation…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood dancing

Gallery: Blossom Bollywood at Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival

VANCOUVER DESI Shiamak Davar’s Vancouver dance team took part in the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday. Dancers performed…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Muslim Surveillance Program

New York police ends Muslim surveillance program that sparked outrage

TOM HAYS And JAKE PEARSON THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW YORK — The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to…
Continue Reading »


Eatery owner stabbed to death over less than $1

IANS New Delhi – A 35-year-old eatery owner was Tuesday stabbed to death while his younger brother was injured in an attack by seven people…
Continue Reading »

Human sperm

Sperm may deliver stress too

IANS London – Your dad did not just pass his qualities via genes in you. He may have actually passed some stress too! A research…
Continue Reading »


Gallery: Justin Trudeau celebrates with thousands at Vancouver Vaisakhi

VANCOUVER DESI Justin Trudeau, Christy Clark and thousands of others were out in the Saturday sunshine to celebrate Vancouver’s 25th annual Vaisakhi parade. The event,…
Continue Reading »

Ajit Singh, father of Jagtar Gill, is overcome with emotion as he leaves the courthouse Monday.Pat McGrath/Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa mom’s husband charged with first-degree murder (with video)

CHRIS COBB OTTAWA CITIZEN OTTAWA  — Minutes after Bhupinderpal Gill’s brief appearance in a packed courtroom Monday an emotional group of relatives and friends…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood Latest


Shah Rukh Khan would love to dance on ‘Gangnam Style’ with Psy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan wants to dance with Korean rap sensation Psy on his global hit Gangnam Style, according to the Press…
Continue Reading »


Hrithik Roshan seeks health tips for ‘shin splints’ from Twitter fans

IANS Mumbai – Actor Hrithik Roshan, who underwent brain surgery last year, is again suffering from “shin splints”. The 40-year-old complained of pain in the…
Continue Reading »


Rajeev Khandelwal: Being in industry an endless marathon

IANS Mumbai – Actor Rajeev Khandelwal says that being in the film industry is like an endless marathon and the one who survives till the…
Continue Reading »