Food News

Torontonians come together for Supper With Syria

Grassroots initiative to benefit Syrian refugees

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Dinner is set to be served up for a great cause in Toronto this month.

Supper With Syria is slated to take place on Nov. 29 at Artscape Wychwood Barns. It is a community dinner and fundraising campaign to benefit Syrian refugees. Organizers have set a goal of raising $70,000 for the night, with the proceeds going towards sponsoring two Syrian refugee families for a year.

Event organizer, Inna Gertsberg says she wanted to get involved in the cause after collaborating with co-organizers Sang Kim and Lara Zahabi on how they could help with the on- going crisis.

“Sang and I thought it would be neat to have a small food-related community gathering and raise a few dollars to contribute to the refugee efforts,” Gertsberg said. “Then, Lara got involved and suddenly we are here. It’s hard to believe it’s only been six weeks since we conceived the idea.”

Attendees can expect a fun filled outing as many events have been planned for the night. Guests will enjoy a taste of Syrian cuisine with eight different food stations to choose from, as well as Syrian inspired beverages.

In terms of entertainment, there will be a live performance by the Canadian Arab Music Ensemble and Choir, in addition to distinguished Syrian speakers and performers. A silent auction will be held where attendees can bid on Syrian artifacts and accessories as well as original art by Syrian painters, photography, jewellery, and much more.

Gertsberg says the event will feature Syrian chefs working with local Canadian chefs to help give an understanding for Syrian culture.

“We’ve all heard the story of Syrian refugees — the despair, the tragedy, the hopelessness. What we haven’t heard is how Syria used to be for thousands of years before the war broke out,” Gertsberg said. “Supper With Syria is an opportunity for us as Canadians to discover the other side of Syria. That’s why our chefs are working together — learning from each other, taking in each other’s culture. It’s an equal partnership. It’s Supper With Syria. It’s in the name.”

Organizers of the event say they hope attendees come away from the event with a better understanding of Syrian culture and open hearts for those escaping the war.

“We hope to create a momentum of compassion and human solidarity by showing the community here that we are all the same, and by showing the community … how it can be enriched by the addition of Syrians,” said Zahabi.