Local Lending a Helping Hand to Lebanon
When the city of Beirut in Lebanon exploded in August due to the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for six years without safety measures at Beirut's port, local restauranteur Madaline Fakhoury was paralysed by shock and disbelief.
“We were in shock as we struggled to face the reality that our nation – our pride and joy – had been disintegrated in a matter of minutes. The land was mourning the loss of its beauty, and the people were grieving the loss of innocent lives,” said Madaline.
“The homes and lives of thousands of Lebanese people had been left shattered, with years of hard work destroyed and buried amongst the rubble.”
“As a Lebanese family ourselves, we knew that this was an immensely difficult time for everyone in Lebanon, and so we decided to take action and do whatever we could to help.”
Being brought up in Newcastle as a Lebanese Australia, Madaline knew that she could trust and reach out to the Australian community, who she says “have kindness and generosity woven into their hearts” to donate much-needed supplies.
The call went out and essential items, such as baby clothing, diapers, perishable foods, and sanitary items, were donated in large amounts by the community of Newcastle. All items were dropped off at Madaline's restaurant – Downtown Beirut, Islington – where they were packed and sent to Sydney.
Jack Ibrahim (owner of RSA Logistics in Melbourne) helped organise three shipping containers to be sent to non-government organisations, such as UNICEF and the Lebanese Red Cross. They will receive and distribute all items accordingly in Beirut.
“We know for a fact that the Lebanese culture, pride and hope is indestructible. However, we felt it was our responsibility as privileged and blessed people to lend a helping hand in this challenging time. And the community of Newcastle and the Hunter region took this opportunity to help, without hesitation,” said Madaline.
“We will be eternally grateful to every soul who donated, and for every prayer that was said. Words could never capture the level of our appreciation, but we are thankful every day for every individual for their unconditional support.”