St. John Food Festival and Our Artsakh Refugee Crisis Response

Reviving a Cherished Tradition Amidst Unfolding Crisis
Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 12, 2023

It's been four years since our last Food Festival at St. John San Francisco, a tradition as old as the parish itself. This year, we embarked on a passionate journey to revive this cherished celebration. Yet, our excitement was overshadowed by the heart-wrenching crisis in Artsakh. Witnessing thousands of Armenians fleeing persecution and leaving their homeland behind, we grappled with how to approach our upcoming festival, especially given the close ties we have to the affected region. After thoughtful deliberation, the Parish Council and Food Festival committee have made the following decisions:

All Proceeds Go To Charity

In 2019, we set a new standard by directing 100% of the Food Festival proceeds to charity. This year, we'll uphold this commitment. Recognizing the urgent need, two-thirds of all proceeds will support our Artsakh Refugee Relief Fund.

Additionally, in line with our parish's core value of local community engagement, one-third will benefit the San Francisco Interfaith Winter Shelter program, a cause we've long championed.

While the Food Festival's contributions will be significant, they mark just one phase of our parish’s efforts to aid Artsakh refugees. We'll be unveiling more plans soon.

A Festival with Heart and Respect

The Food Festival is an event dedicated to honoring and sharing our rich culture. As such, in the past, that Saturday evening would conclude in raucous and joyous dancing. However, another aspect of our culture is respecting the mourning process, and tragically there are many members of our community who are in mourning today for lives and land that was lost. With compassion in our hearts and in solidarity with Armenians around the world, we've chosen a different path this year. Instead of entertainment, we'll offer an enriched cultural presentation and share informative materials about the challenges Armenians face today.

Your Support is Crucial

The success of the Food Festival is pivotal in our efforts to address the ongoing crisis. We humbly ask for your continued support, be it through volunteering, financial contributions, attending the event, or helping spread the word. Your dedication and involvement are deeply appreciated. Thank you for standing with us during these trying times.