PASADENA — Over 150 people gathered at the AEBU Center for a night of comedy and to donate toys to children in Armenia and Artsakh at the Toy Drive /Comedy Night event organized by the Armenian Council of America.

Master of Ceremonies, Steven Hovagimian introduced comedians Mary Basmadjian, Michael Passion, Michael Gregorian, Mike Black, John DiResta, Gabe Killian and William Leonard, as they delighted the audience with roaring laughter and good cheer.

Among the dignitaries present at the event showing their support were State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena City Councilmember Justin L. Jones and City of Glendale Mayor Ardashes Kassakhian. The musical portion of the evening was provided by DJ Rex who continued the festive mood into the late hours of the night.

“We were very happy with the turnout of the event and the overwhelming number of toys collected,” said Suzy Atityan, member of the organizing committee. “Even though we asked that each guest bring one unwrapped toy, some attendees brought multiple toys which I’m certain will brighten the smiles of many children in Armenia and Artsakh who are sadly experiencing the trauma of war,” she said.

The hundreds of toys collected, will be shipped to Armenia in the upcoming weeks to be distributed to children who were displaced due to the aggression by the Azerbaijani regime. Donations are also being collected for toys to be purchased directly in Armenia in an effort to curb shipping costs.

Organizing Committee member Raffi Barsamian stated that there are plans to make the Toy Drive/Comedy Night into an annual event. “After seeing so much interest from people who genuinely want to help children in Armenia and Artsakh, we felt that the Toy Drive/Comedy Night would be a perfect opportunity to be held on a yearly basis, so that people can get together, enjoy the holidays, while also contributing to a worthy cause by helping our sisters and brothers in the homeland who are counting on us for our support in their critical time of need,” said Barsamian.

ACA would like to send a special thanks to Half Baked Co. and Belle Âme Balloons for generously sponsoring their services for the event, as well as all the volunteers and attendees who made the Toy Drive/Comedy Night a huge success.

To contribute to the ACA Toy Drive, please visit

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