Local organizations are coming together this weekend to raise money for earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria.
A meal is being prepared by the chef and owner of Kitchener’s Queen Shawarma Turkish Cuisine, Sariye Sindy.
One of the organizers of the KW VegFest, Mo Markham, says Sindy came up with the idea after visiting family in Turkey.
“I didn’t realize she was in Turkey when the earthquakes began. She was with two of her daughters, her daughter-in-law and one of her grandbabies,” Markham said.
Markham said Sindy has contributed to the organization’s climate initiative events and all of the VegFest events, and she wanted to do something to help people back home after she saw how they were living.
“I talked to others in the community and we came together to put on this dinner, which Sariye and her husband Karim are cooking for. We really hope our region will come forward and help people overseas as much as possible.”
To organize the fundraiser, KW VegFest collaborated with the Grand River Friendship Society/the Intercultural Dialogue Institute and the Community Kitchen Co-operative of K-W.
Markham said Sunday’s fundraiser is intended not only to raise money for the survivors in the two countries, but to raise awareness too.
It is also personal for Markham as she lost her home to a fire last year.
She said people can still overcome tragedies through community support.
“It was humbling for us to have all of this help offered from total strangers and I know people over there are appreciating every little bit of help that people can offer,” she said.
Since the first earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria in the early morning hours of Feb. 6, there have been more than 10,000 aftershocks. The death toll has risen to more than 50,000 and nearly two million are homeless.
Relief organizations estimate that more than 800,000 children and over 300,000 pregnant women, along with countless elderly and disabled people, are among the survivors.
The KW VegFest is one of the websites you can go to if you wish to register for seats and donate. There is also an event page on Facebook.
The funds raised will be sent to the Canadian Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts. The Friendship Society will also issue tax receipts for donations.
The dinner starts at 5 p.m. at St. John’s Anglican Church in Kitchener.
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