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

india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

INDIA_RAPE_PROTEST_217126232

Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

Homicide investigators are on scene at a stabbing in Surrey.

Homicide investigators on scene of stabbing in Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI A man is dead following an early morning stabbing in Surrey. Surrey RCMP were called to the 10600-block 135A Street in Whalley shortly…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij poses with Barinder Rasode at his new South Surrey restaurant My Shanti at an event Thursday night. Submitted photo.

Will Vikram Vij’s ‘support’ be enough to push Barinder Rasode into Surrey mayoralty ring?

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Still yet to officially announce a bid for mayor this fall, Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode had an endorsement party of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »

232-teeth tumour gum

Indian teen boy gets 232 teeth removed from “very rare” tumour in his jaw

VANCOUVER DESI A 17-year-old boy in India underwent a seven-hour long operation on Monday to have a whopping 232 teeth removed from a “very rare”…
Continue Reading »

basketball

Indian minister criticizes ‘no-headgear’ rule after Sikh basketball players told to remove turbans during Asia Cup

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — India’s sports minister has criticized the ‘no-headgear’ rule of basketball’s world body FIBA after two Sikh players on the…
Continue Reading »

Greece

Tipsy British tourist asked to leave church after mistaking it for a disco

CEN AGENCY A tipsy British tourist had to be asked to leave a church in Crete where he started dancing after local kids told him…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-weight lifter-Commonwealth Games-Glasgow

Surrey weightlifter Parm Phangura bound for Commonwealth Games

MICHAEL BOOTH SURREY NOW FLEETWOOD — 163+205=368. That stark equation scrawled in the top corner of a chalkboard means little to a casual observer, but…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra fought with professional boxers while shooting Mary Kom

IANS Mumbai  – Actress Priyanka Chopra fought with real boxers in Mary Kom, a biopic on the five time World Champion boxer. She says it…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Akshay Kumar to host dance reality show Dare 2 Dance

IANS Gurgaon  – Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar, who has played host of TV adventure reality series Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi in the past,…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-ARTS-CINEMA-BOLLYWOOD

What stunt scared Jacqueline Fernandez the most while filming Kick?

IANS Mumbai — Superstar Salman Khan has done a lot of action and stunts in Kick and the film’s leading lady Jacqueline Fernandez says that…
Continue Reading »