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Group fundraising to bring newcomer's family members to Digby

Funds are being raised to bring Rima’s three brothers, her mother, her sister and niece to Canada from Lebanon.
Funds are being raised to bring Rima’s three brothers, her mother, her sister and niece to Canada from Lebanon. - Contributed

Team Rima rallying community towards $40,000 goal

DIGBY, N.S. —

A Valentine dinner, hosted by Kenaan’s Kitchen on Feb. 8 at the Schoolhouse Café in Sandy Cove, provides an opportunity to show your love.

Funds raised through ticket sales for the event will help Team Rima in its goal of bringing family members from Lebanon to join Rima and Shekrallah Kenaan, who have been residing in Digby for the past three years.

Tickets ($25) must be ordered no later than Feb. 6.

On Feb. 8, starting at 5:30 p.m., the Kenaans will be serving a new menu that includes a chicken soup appetizer, followed by a chicken and curry rice dinner with roast vegetables, ending with two desserts: Rima’s famous rice pudding or an all-new kanafay dessert.

The Kenaans and their six children were sponsored in 2015 to immigrate to Canada by the Hillgrove Baptist Church and the local community.

Rima and Shekrallah Kenaan and their six children immigrated to Digby in 2015
Rima and Shekrallah Kenaan and their six children immigrated to Digby in 2015

They now hope to have Rima’s three brothers and mother, her sister and niece, join them in Digby. Concerned citizens banded together to form Team Rima, with assistance from the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada and the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The family members are presently in a refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon. Applications for the family members to immigrate to Canada were accepted in December. Team Rima hopes to have Rima’s family arrive in Canada by December of this year.

“It all depends how fast the government processes the application,” says group member Sharon White.

“We were told it would take anywhere from 12 to 18 months after the application was accepted.”

Team Rima member Jill Balser says Rima had a very strong ambition to start working and doing something to earn money for her family when she arrived three years ago.

“When it came to what is missing (in Digby) and what can Rima do? It was very much cooking and food and being able to share her culture with everyone who lives here. I think that’s why everybody gravitates not only just to eat such a good meal but to hear the story and learn about Rima’s family and the whole experience about coming to Canada,” said Balser.

Rima now provides a catering service from her home.

“I’m so happy that people like my food,” she says.

No government funding is being provided to assist the rest of Rima’s family to immigrate to Canada as this is a private sponsorship. 

Fundraising is ongoing.

As of Feb. 5, Team Rima had raised $12,200 towards the $40,000 goal.

Team Rima’s biggest fundraiser are the toonie cans. People sign out a toonie can and take it home to fill it with toonies over time.

“We call it toonie can because we are reuniting two families. So we put a toonie in, one dollar for each family,” said White.

Last summer, there were close to 80 toonie cans adopted by families that filled them with toonies.

The funds raised will be directed towards housing, food, furniture, clothing, etc. for the new arrivals during the first year.

Balser says if there’s anyone else who can fundraise for Team Rima they are encouraged to do so.

More info

To purchase a $25 ticket  - no later than Feb. 6 for the Feb. 8 Valentine dinner Schoolhouse Café in Sandy Cove (5:30 p.m.).

Contact Gwen Quigley Wilson through the Schoolhouse Cafe Facebook page to reserve tickets, then etransfer 

Team Rima’s biggest fundraiser are toonie cans. People sign out a can and take it home to fill it with toonies over time.
Team Rima’s biggest fundraiser are toonie cans. People sign out a can and take it home to fill it with toonies over time.

Want to adopt a toonie can?

Contact Sharon White 902-250-0089

Future fundraising events being planned will be posted on the  Team Rima Facebook Page

They include:

- Mar 2 Dinner Fundraiser in Freeport put on by Kenaan's Kitchen

- Mother's Day Truffle orders

- Walk-a-thon

- Paint nights

- Musical concerts

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