Calgarians collect relief supplies to ship to Beirut

Leela Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women,  helped out as the Alberta Muslim Social Association (AMSA), hosted the Calgary to Beirut container loading event. Calgary's Lebanese community loaded relief supplies in bound for Beirut on Saturday, August 15, 2020.

Essential items and heartfelt letters are being collected in Calgary to support those impacted by the deadly Beirut blast.

The

Calgary Lebanese Association

and the

Alberta Muslim Social Association

are working in collaboration to send relief containers to thousands of Lebanese impacted by the Aug. 4 explosion.

Mohamad Awada, one of the organizers, said the volunteer-led efforts show the best of the Canadian spirit.

“What Canada is best at doing is giving, caring and loving,” said Awada. “It is so nice to say I’m Lebanese and we’re doing this for Lebanon but I think we’re doing it by the name of Alberta, in general, and Calgary, specifically.”

 

Dozens of boxes have been filled, so far, with items like diapers, baby formula, pasta, medication and clothing to send abroad. Awada said they’re also encouraging locals to write messages of “love, hope and peace.”

 Alberta Muslim Social Association (AMSA), hosted the CALGARY TO BEIRUT CONTAINER LOADING EVENT as Calgary’s Lebanese community loaded relief supplies in bound for Beirut on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

“If anyone had the chance to watch some of the videos that took place in Lebanon, you don’t need to be Lebanese to feel the pain and the struggle that the Lebanese people are going through,” he said.

It’s suspected the explosion, which levelled Lebanon’s main port in the capital Beirut, was

caused by the ignition of a volatile chemical stored in a storage facility

. The deadly event has claimed the lives of over 150 people and wounded thousands more.

Awada, who’s Lebanese himself, said seeing news about the explosion was, in one word, heartbreaking.

“I felt the explosion reached me here. It put me down,” he said.

 Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attended the event and offered support as Calgary’s Lebanese community loaded relief supplies in bound for Beirut on Saturday, August 15, 2020.

“The destruction of Beirut is very hurtful but what hurts more is the stories that came out from this destruction — the moms who are touring the port to look for their kids, or any part of their kid.”

Donations are ongoing for the cause, said Awada, adding they have received items and cash donation from across Alberta.

Premier Jason Kenney, who attended the loading event on Saturday, announced the province is donating $500,000 to relief efforts in Lebanon through the Red Cross. No additional details were made available.

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