FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Fresno-based Belmont Car Wash held a fundraiser Monday – with all of the proceeds going to non-profit ArmeniaFund, supporting Armenia in the ongoing conflict with Turkey.
“I’m here along with every other Armenians around the world saying that we’re not going to allow another genocide happen in 2020,” said Serge Haitayan, the owner of Belmont Car Wash.
More than a century has passed since the Armenian genocide, where an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed at the hands of Ottoman Turks. Armenians slowly migrated to the United States and other parts of the world. Around 40,000 to 50,000 live in the Central Valley.
“So, the Fresno Armenians are a very strong, tight-knit community. It’s hard when you’re so far away from what’s happening – like this is what we can do. We can gather together, we can raise awareness,” said Fresno resident Diane Messerlian.
David Maynes, who happened to take his car for a wash without knowing about the fundraiser, is proud to be part of the cause.
“It’s a really nice thing that the local community comes together and helps out different fundraisers during these times.”
In business in Fresno since 1977, the Belmont Car Wash is no stranger to giving back, but this time it’s different as it hits home for the Armenian business owner.
“Who would have thought 2020 could get any worse than what we witnessed. This is the first time we’re doing anything on this scale because the threat to Armenia, the threat to Armenians, the threat to our existence is at stake,” said Haitayan.
Haitayan says the car wash will donate at least $5,000 to the ArmeniaFund regardless of today’s sales but hopes to raise much more than that.