WhaleAid Aleppo has raised $24,000 to assist the war-torn city and are planning a spectacular end to a successful fundraising campaign.

A long-table, late afternoon three-course dinner for 100 people will take place on Port Ōhope Wharf on Sunday 9th April to mark the culmination of a variety of fundraising events, including a successful Whale Island (Moutohorā) swim, avocado sales, a yoga class, a football match, and raffles; the final fundraiser – to be hosted by Fisherman’s Wharf restaurateur Tom Maguire and the WhaleAid committee – is expected to take the total to more than $30,000.

Mr Maguire said he’s thrilled to share the bounty and beauty of the Eastern Bay with local diners, with profits going to such a good cause.  “We’ll watch the sunset, count our blessings and help folks on the other side of the planet who aren’t doing so well. Our lives are good, our lives are great; it’s time to give a little something back.”

WhaleAid spokesperson Anne Bulley says the group has been focussing their efforts on Aleppo, the city that has been under siege since 2012, and they have chosen to give all funds raised to ReliefAid. “They are independent and impartial,” Ms Bulley says, “and have a high success rate in getting life-saving relief to those who need it in war zones. In 2016 alone the organisation distributed relief items to some 36,000 civilians in Aleppo, arguably the most devastated war-torn city on earth. A Syrian team in the displacement camps will deliver the ShelterBox packages directly to families in need. Every $25 donated gives a family a ShelterBox which includes warm clothing and blankets, solar lamps and water purification tablets,” she said.  “We’re thrilled to think that our community will have helped more than 7000 families.”

According to ReliefAid New Zealand, each box will help sustain a family for up to six months.  Mike Seawright founder of ReliefAid will attend the event on April 9th.

Tickets to the dinner are now available for just $75 with all profits going directly to ReliefAid.  A charity art auction will also take place during the evening and a cash bar will also contribute profits.  Sponsors include Whakatane District Council, Tui Party Hire, Blueberry Corner and Bread Asylum.

For tickets email whaleaidaleppo@gmail.com.

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