Burbank students organize fundraiser to send essential items to soldiers, families in Armenia

Organizers gather in front of St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank

As fighting continues between Armenia and Azerbaijan, thousands in Los Angeles are coming together to help those in Armenia. 

A care drive was held Saturday in Burbank to collect essential items to send to soldiers and families living in the area of Artsakh.

Fighting erupted the morning of September 27 over the disputed separatist region of the Republic of Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh).

After a week of fighting, Nagorno-Karabakh officials said more than 150 servicemen on their side have been killed so far. 

RELATED: Heavy fighting continues between Armenia and Azerbaijan despite ceasefire talks

Several families living in the city of Stepanakert have been evacuated to Yerevan after increased shelling by Azerbaijani forces.

While chaos occurs along the border; thousands of miles away in Los Angeles people of Armenian American descent have come together to show their support. 

Students discuss reason for organizing community drive. From left to right (Irina Danielyan, Ani Kyuregyan, Lilit Arakelyan)

Three high school teenagers from Burbank High organized a community drive to collect items and raise money to send to those in need in Armenia.

Boxes of warm clothes, shoes, toys, medications and first aid kits were all donated.

“We woke up to see that our brothers and sisters in our homeland were in bomb shelters and we were in the comforts of our own homes, not knowing what we can really do to help. And we were sitting all three together just thinking what we can really do to send aid to our brothers and sisters there,” said Lilit Arakelyan.

Word of their fundraiser rapidly grew…the small community event they planned soon turned into a bigger movement. They say people from Las Vegas, Northern California and even celebrities got involved… contacting them on ways to help.

“When we posted this we thought it was going to stay small. We had no idea that celebrities started sharing it. It’s very emotional because we had people saying ‘when I get there give me something to do’, they just wanted to help. And I feel like we have so much love and are so united,” Ani Kyuregyan said. 

They say they were overwhelmed by the outpour of support and say donating items like clothes and toys to families is the least they could do to help.  

“We wanted to let our people know they are not alone, we are with them. And even though we are not able to be there in Armenia right now, we wanted to know that they are in our hearts and with us,” stated Irina Danielyan. 

 A shipment of items will be sent via cargo plane on October 5th to Armenia. 

The My Step Foundation partnered with Armenia Fund to help organize the event and ship the items overseas.  

To learn more ways to help or donate visit ArmeniaFund