Northern Ont. fundraiser to help those struggling after Beirut blast
DANA ROBERTS -- More than two weeks after a devastating explosion in Beirut, support from around the world continues to pour in, including northern Ontario.
Two Sudburians with direct connections to Lebanon's capital city are banding together to do what they can for those in need.
"This time you can't think about your own family," said Sam Khoury, one of the people behind the fundraiser, called Aid Lebanon. "You have to think about everybody in general. It doesn't matter where they are, who they are, to help them. They need lots of help."
Khoury said he has many family members in the area, who are thankfully OK.
Tragic for everybody
"It was very tragic experience to everybody, even here when you see it on TV," said Khoury. "It's unreal. You won't believe it. It's just like a movie."
Khoury has joined together with Sudbury businessman Milad Mansour, whose family was also impacted by the devastating chemical blast.
"My nephew, my sister's son, was in hospital near the port and is lucky they discharged him two hours before," said Mansour, the president and founder of Milman Industries. "He's lucky. Before, he got home to the mountain, it takes two hours, before he got home the explosion started."
Mansour said his two nieces were also affected, having their windows shattered. He said they were about 15 kilometres away from the epicentre.
Immediately, he did what he could to help the community.
"I donated my two houses in the village in the mountain for these people, whoever can live with five families, two families," said Mansour.
Aiming to raise $20K
The blast on Aug. 4 ruptured the nation's capital, killing at least 170 people and wounding thousands more.
The two Sudburians are hoping to raise $20,000, funds that they say will go directly to those in need.
"There is a group in Lebanon who looks after those," said Khoury. "We are already in touch in them and they will receive the money to help the needy families one by one, and they can tell us exactly which family received how much from the money we're going to receive here in Sudbury."
With many charitable endeavours in their past, the pair are optimistic northerners will come through again.
"Sudburians are always very generous people, very good people and loyal," said Mansour. "I've had a couple hundred phone calls, people asking and checking up, how we're doing there and hopefully the relatives and friends, nothing happened to them."
The group has set up an account called 'Aid Lebanon'. Anyone wishing to help can e-transfer funds to email@example.com. Khoury also said he will accept cheques, paid out to 'Aid Lebanon' by mail to his address: 390 McNaughton Terrace, Sudbury Ont., P3E1 W1.