NOTL rallying to support family who lost home in fire
Community fundraiser planned for Oct. 19
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.
Community donations are pouring in after a Niagara-on-the-Lake family lost everything in a fire Sept. 16.