NOTL ral­ly­ing to sup­port fam­ily who lost home in fire

Com­mu­nity fundraiser planned for Oct. 19

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Local - SCOTT ROSTS

The way Maria Mavridis sees it, com­ing to­gether as a com­mu­nity when a res­i­dent is in need is what Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake does.

“We al­ways pull to­gether … any­thing that hap­pens af­fects the com­mu­nity as one,” said Mavridis, whose fam­ily owns and op­er­ates Corks Winebar in the Old Town.

Fol­low­ing a Sept. 16 fire in which a lo­cal fam­ily lost ev­ery­thing, the com­mu­nity has ral­lied. A Go­FundMe cam­paign has raised $5,577 in just three weeks. Sup­port will con­tinue with an Af­ter the Fire fundraiser on Fri­day, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m., at Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. Lord Mayor Pat Darte, Ni­a­garaon-the-Lake Cham­ber of Com­merce and lo­cal busi­nesses are team­ing up to raise ad­di­tional funds for Rachel Spiewak and Ja­son Chafe, their chil­dren and fam­ily dog Tucker.

“This is part of Ni­a­gara-on-theLake’s iden­tity as a com­mu­nity. Ev­ery­one reaches out and works to­gether,” said Darte, who came up with the idea for the event with Spiewak fam­ily friend Zenon Konopka and then turned to Mavridis for help to stage it. “We’re friends of the fam­ily, but I would do this even if it was some­one I didn’t know.”

The event will fea­ture live mu­sic by The Hop­y­ards, DJ Trevor Le­gault, a si­lent auc­tion, cash bar and free snacks. Tick­ets for the event are $10 each and avail­able from Darte, Konopka, at Corks, on­line via the cham­ber’s web­site, ni­a­garaon­the­lake.com/page/ tick­et­de­tail/3684/681/1, or at the door.

On Mon­day night, Darte and Mavridis said they had just is­sued the call for sup­port for the auc­tion and the re­sponse was over­whelm­ing.

“We’ll prob­a­bly have more than 100 items for the si­lent auc­tion,” said Darte, not­ing while it’s still early some of the high­lights in­clude a din­ner from PigOut Cater­ing for 50 peo­ple, a Sephora gift bas­ket val­ued at $500, a Ni­a­gara Air­bus roundtrip for two to Toronto val­ued at $250 and NHL mem­o­ra­bilia cour­tesy of Konopka.

“We know how this com­mu­nity is and it has Rachel’s back,” said Mavridis. “I know it’s go­ing to be an in­cred­i­ble night where we’ll see the com­mu­nity com­ing to­gether as one to sup­port her and her fam­ily.”

An event page has been setup on Face­book where those wish­ing to at­tend can visit to learn about the fundraiser, and also reach out to the or­ga­niz­ers should they wish to sup­port the event. Visit face­book.com/events /1043953742429717/.

Darte and Mavridis are also en­cour­ag­ing those who have any pho­tos of Spiewak and her fam­ily to bring them that night to help her re­build a col­lec­tion of mem­o­ries from over the years.

“No­body can imag­ine hav­ing to start over again,” said Darte. “Pho­tos are your mem­o­ries and tough to re­place.”

Those wish­ing to do­nate to the Go­FundMe cam­paign set up by friends of the Spiewak fam­ily can still do so at www.go­fundme.com /s6crz-lost-ev­ery­thing-in­house-fire.

AL­LAN BEN­NER THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Com­mu­nity do­na­tions are pour­ing in af­ter a Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake fam­ily lost ev­ery­thing in a fire Sept. 16.

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