Vancouver restaurants raise money for Beirut after explosion

Dine out to help Beirut

Restaurant owners in Vancouver are doing what they can to help traumatized residents of Beirut, Lebanon, in the aftermath of the explosion which killed at least 150 people. 

Thousands were injured in the Aug. 4 explosion of a warehouse, and more than 300,000 people lost their homes.

Vancouver's Aleph Eatery owner Haitham El Khatib had always planned to launch his new brunch menu this past weekend, but never planned on making it into a fundraiser for his homeland, reports CTV News Vancouver.

El Khatib, who grew up in a refugee camp in Beirut, says he wanted to find a way to help those who are in desperate need of assistance. 

“We felt a call to do something to help. Our family is there, our friends are there … so we thought, how about we give all the proceeds from this brunch and donate it to people on the ground who are helping with cleaning, rebuilding and finding homes for people who are homeless?

“Honestly, the response from the community in Vancouver has been amazing. Literally yesterday someone just came to the door when we were closed, he pulled me out and said, ‘Here’s $100.’”

El Khatib has family members living in Beirut who were significantly affected by the explosion. 

“I have a sister. Her house was pretty destroyed. Not fully, but really damaged. Her husband got injured and her kids really got traumatized in the experience,” he says. “Thankfully, they are alive.”

Money raised at Aleph Eatery will be sent directly to two aid organizations working on the ground - Beit El Baraja and Impact Lebanon. 

Restaurant Nuba is also holding a fundraiser this weekend at four Vancouver locations.

The federal government announced this week it will match private donations to several humanitarian organizations in Lebanon. 

- With files from CTV News Vancouver


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