The Lebanese Canadian Society of British Columbia (LCSBC) is holding a virtual fundraiser for the victims of the Beirut explosion. The fundraiser, which began on Oct. 11 and will conclude on Dec.15, will direct all proceeds to Beit El Baraka, a registered NGO in Lebanon.
Many fundraisers were held around the time of the explosion on Aug 4. Initially, the LCSBC wanted to send support in the form of supplies. Due to infrastructure being destroyed in the explosion, there were concerns over whether their efforts would be received. After some planning taking in to account Covid-19, they decided to hold a virtual fundraiser.
Carla Zarifeh, president of the LCSBC, explains that support for disaster relief can wane as time passes when long term support is vital to the recovery of the community.
“Part of the reason for that one is everybody's so gung ho about doing change when the incidents and events happen. But then a lot of people forget about it. So there was over 300,000 people that lost their homes. So that's going to take you a while to rebuild. The winter months are coming right now, It's getting colder. So we wanted to make sure that we ended up doing something because this is long term,” said Zarifeh.
Through members of their community, they connected with the organization Beit El Baraka — a NGO dedicated to providing basic needs and rights to families in Lebanon.
In their choice to work with Beit El Baraka, Zarifeh states that the LCSBC was looking for an organization that would provide wide spread relief to the people of Lebanon.
“There’s a lot of NGOs that are doing good work over there. Some of the feedback that I got that people were picking certain organizations, but they weren't necessarily NGOs. And those people were targeting certain areas, or certain people and that's not what we wanted. So we figured basically Beit El Baraka is targeting all across. It's a NGO, Lebanon based charity and takes care of the instance and long term ways of helping people in need across Lebanon,” said Zarifeh.
The funds raised will go towards medical aid, food assistance and housing. The fundraiser will also include a draw for a chance to win prizes for all who donate.
With less than a month to go until the virtual fundraiser ends, the LCSBC is hoping to get the word out to the public.
“Spread the word. Any little bit helps and we do understand people are in tough times right now. Even in Canada, with work and all. So we're hoping to make this a long term goal for the society. We've always raised some funds and we're hoping to continue to do so. But it's just different circumstances right now with COVID. We just have to get creative with it,” said Zarifeh.