Supper With Syria

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Fiesta Farms will be donating ingredients to a fundraising dinner to help Syrian refugees. Inna Gertsberg is one of the organizers, along with Sang Kim and Lara Zahabi, I spoke with her about the event and how everyone can get involved. This post is illustrated with images of traditional Syrian dishes that should be mouthwatering enough to encourage you to buy a ticket to this incredible dinner.

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What do you do in your regular life and how did you come to be involved in organizing this dinner?

I am an advertising copywriter and writer, I have two sons, a husband and a cat, and I rock climb when I have time.

How did I become an organizer? I said “yes” to what I thought was going to be a small, community-based event to raise some funds to help the refugee crisis. The idea belonged to my friend Sang Kim, a Toronto chef and food entrepreneur. Sang then introduced me to Lara Zahabi, a Lebanese-born Syrian physician and an amazing human being. Then I asked my councillor, Joe Mihevc, if he wanted to support this little idea. Joe took me to City Hall ten minutes later and introduced Supper With Syria at the Council meeting. And the rest just kind of snow-balled from there. Needless to say, our heads are spinning. 🙂

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How will the event work? Do people buy tickets in advance or at the door?

Supper With Syria is a tapas-style dinner, with 8 dishes being served throughout the night at different food stations. We have Syrian chefs preparing traditional Syrian dishes and their non-Syrian chef partners preparing a western interpretation of those dishes. There will be a massive dessert table courtesy of Baklawa King; a silent auction with Syrian artifacts, fine art, fabrics and jewellery. We will also have live performance by Canadian Arab Ensemble and Choir and live presentations by Syrian guests. Essentially, Supper With Syria is a night of full immersion in Syrian culture. Its purpose (other than raising the funds obviously) is to expose our community to the side of Syria they don’t see in the news.

Tickets can be purchased via Interac® transfer to info@supperwithsyria.org and picked up at the door. Cheques can be dropped off at one of Joe’s offices (Community office is at 747 St Clair Ave West and City Hall office at 100 Queen West).

We have 400 tickets for sale and are very close to being sold out, we encourage people to get their tickets now.

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Who are some of the sponsors you have on board?

Wychwood Barns has generously donated the space. Our RBC branch has pledged and reached out to their regional office for an even bigger size sponsorship. Humewood Community School (my kids’ school) has pledged. We received a very generous donation from Dunpar Homes, who were the first ones to jump at the opportunity to help when they heard about the event. Our charitable partner is Toronto Foundation. They generously agreed to set up the Supper With Syria fund and they will be processing our donations and issuing charitable tax receipts. We are also thankful to Shelley Fenton from Reserve Properties. We have partnered with Canadian Arab Institute, whose people have been incredibly generous with their time and skills in all aspects of the event. And our musical guests, one of Canada’s best known Arab Orchestras, has given us the gift of their talent for the entire night. We couldn’t be more grateful.

What is the most important thing that we can do as citizens to help in this time of crisis for these people?

Stop hesitating and questioning whether this will help alleviate the “bigger” issue of war and conflict. It will.

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