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Guelph fundraiser supports earthquake victims in Turkey, Syria

It's being held at Retour Bistro Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Retour Bistro on Wellington Street will play host to a Turkey/Syria earthquake fundraiser this Saturday.

A fundraiser in Guelph this weekend is looking to support victims of last month's earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which has claimed thousands of lives and displaced over a million people.

Retour Bistro will hold the event Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at its location at 150 Wellington St. E.

It's a cause that hits close to home for Sara Kuwatly, the community organizer for the event.

She arrived in Guelph in 2016 as a sponsored Syrian refugee, to complete her studies in molecular biology and genetics at the University of Guelph.

"Since (2016), there has been a lot of really major events that have been happening in Syria, and I've always felt really lonely because I always felt there wasn't enough supports," she told GuelphToday.

"But when the earthquake happened, I feel like it was big enough that it really garnered international headlines and a lot of folks were looking to donate and support."

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake Feb. 6, and subsequent 7.7 magnitude quake is responsible for over 55,000 deaths, including more than 48,000 in Turkey alone. 

Property damage is said to be pegged at north of $100 billion.

She said news of the earthquake was devastating, and as a Syrian, felt like they as a country "cannot catch a break."

"It's like one tragedy after the other," she said, adding Wednesday also marked the 12th anniversary of the Syrian revolution.

Kuwatly said the timing seems right to have the community come together to mourn and be there for each other.

Officials say the event will feature performances, speakers, prizes and food.

Doors open at 6 p.m. To get in, residents are asked to make a $10 donation.

The restaurant is also donating 10 per cent of its food sales Saturday to support relief efforts.

Money raised will go toward three different organizations: the White Helmets, Islamic Relief and a Kurdish organization named Torihawkwari.

More details can be found on the Show Up Guelph Instagram page.