PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio — After back-to-back earthquakes rocked Syria and Turkey, causing mass destruction and a rising death toll surpassing 20,000, relief efforts are underway for the entire region. Those efforts have become the focus of Sky Lounge in Parma Heights.
"Half of my employees are Syrian, so it does affect all of us," said owner Samir Nakhle. "Everybody is sad, everybody is worried about their family and friends."
Nakhle is from Lebanon. Not long ago he was raising funds for his home country after the deadly Beirut explosion in 2020 that left more than 200 people dead at 7,000 people injured.
"We had a similar tragic incident back in 2020 in August in Lebanon. We had an explosion and it was really very sad for us," he recalled.
During that time, Nakhle held an event to raise money for Lebanon. The turnout, he said, was impressive.
With other Middle Eastern countries now in need, Nakhle decided to act, turning a celebration of love into a day of giving.
"Originally it was a Valentine’s party, that was the event, that’s what’s been planned and people," Nakhle said. "The first thing that came to our mind is instead of canceling an event, why don’t we keep the event and take that money and send it and help people that are in need."
So on Saturday at Sky Lounge, located at 6395 Pearl Rd. in Parma Heights, musicians will take the stage and perform during their "Love for Syria Event." Tickets for the event are $75 and include dinner with all proceeds going to support evacuation and recovery efforts in Syria.
"We thought about helping the people that needed help and today and today we feel like Syria is in a greater need of help. The whole community supported the even that we did for Lebanon and we know the whole Arab community will support this event," said Nakhle. "At the end of the day we’re all here from the Middle East to work and make a living...I just hope it’s going to be successful event because they do need all the help they can."
Other organizations around Northeast Ohio are also helping provide support to earthquake victims overseas. Below are some of the upcoming efforts:
Watch live and local news any time:
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.
You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.