CWDHS event raised over $5,000 for Syrian refugees

A fundraiser for Syrian refugees at Centre Wellington District High School last week was a great success.

Over 250 people helped raise $5,600 for the Canadian Red Cross Syrian Emergency Relief Fund at the event. That figure will double to $11,200 after the federal government matches the donation.

On Nov. 26 the school opened its doors for “Supper for Syria,” a special dinner prepared by teacher-chef Chris Jess and his students from the Food School.

The event, organized primarily by the Welcome Project, a group of Centre Wellington citizens raising funds for Syrian refugee camps, also included raffle ticket sales.

“We had to close the doors and turn people away … as we had reached our food capacity,” CWDHS teacher Diane Ballantyne said in an email after the event. “We also ran out of raffle tickets and had to go buy some more.”

In addition to Food School volunteers, the Free the Children Club at the school donated its time, as did Resa Lent from Desert Rose in Elora.

CWDHS graduate Nishin Nathwani was the keynote speaker for the event.

He has spent three summers working with the United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR and is soon heading to Beirut to work with refugees in Lebanon.

Ballantyne said the event is important for youth “because building community means working together for common goals.” In working on this project students were able to talk to each other about global problems.

“Through this process they learn about another’s struggle, half a world away, and are able to see their own privilege,” she explained.

“Youth are ready to learn but they also need an outlet to ‘do something.’ This kind of event enables them to work to make a difference in a way that is concrete, achievable and measurable for them.”

The dinner welcomed community members ranging from young kids to older adults.

“While we were incredibly successful raising funds for Red Cross programs overseas, I believe the evening was also a success in illustrating the support this community has for refugees coming to Centre Wellington,” Ballantyne said.

“Project Welcome has facilitated the creation of the Centre Wellington Refugee Network, which includes various groups who are in the process of sponsoring (many of these groups were in attendance at the dinner) as well as various other supportive partner groups.”