Toronto

Supper with Syria fundraiser raises money for refugees

Torontonians showed their generosity towards incoming Syrian refugees by helping raise roughly $100,000 at a charity dinner Sunday.

Sold-out event brings in roughly $100,000 to help sponsor 3 families

Organizers were hoping to raise $70,000 at the fundraiser but ending up raking up approximately $100,000. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC)

As Canada works toward bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees by next March, many Torontonians came out to a special event designed to make things a little easier for everyone involved.

The Supper with Syria fundraiser took place Sunday at Artscape Wychwood Barns on Christie Street with a goal of enjoying some Syrian food and raising $70,000 to help settle two fleeing families of five. 

"This is a real exchange. It's a party of equals. It's brotherhood," said organizer Inna Gertsberg. "I think that's why this event is so important. It's one-of-a-kind that way. It sets up that we're for Syria. We're not treating refugees as victims, we're treating them as brothers."

Not only did organizers meet expectations with the dinner, they shattered them.

There was a great deal of Middle Eastern food available at the event, ranging from lentil stew to Syrian-inspired burgers. (Makda Ghebreslassie/CBC)
Five hundred tickets were sold and some who showed up hoping for a seat were turned away due to lack of space. In total, approximately $100,000 was raised at the event, which means a third family — this one with four Syrians — will be sponsored in Toronto's Ward 21. 

Mayor John Tory called the event "heartwarming" on Twitter. Others in attendance included Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins, Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, Coun. Joe Cressy, Coun. Joe Mihevc and Coun. Justin Di Ciano. 

Diners enjoyed a wide variety of Middle Eastern food available at the event, ranging from lentil stew to Syrian-inspired burgers. 

Mihevic said the generosity shown by those in attendance speaks volumes about the feelings of compassion and solidarity expressed by Torontonians toward refugees currently in camps.

"[They] just want a better life," he said.

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