by Jenny Read

On Saturday, January 18, Merrickville’s Ceilidh Girls fundraising collective hosted a special Main Street Family Restaurant ‘Chef Night’ to benefit Rideau Bridge to Canada Refugee Support Group. The event was successful beyond the Ceilidhs’ wildest dreams, raising a grand total of $10,000 from a silent auction, sponsorships, donations, and a cheque for $810 from Main Street Family Restaurant.

The Ceilidh Girls Chef Night featured a unique menu developed by Janet Campbell, owner of Merrickville’s renowned gourmet food shop, Mrs. McGarrigle’s. The event’s ‘Middle East Feast’ featured braised chicken with lemon and olives, Mejadra (basmati rice and lentils with caramelized onions), Ma’amul (date-filled cookies), and more.

100 percent of the funds raised will be used to support Rideau Bridge to Canada’s efforts to bring a second Syrian refugee family to Merrickville – their first family, the Erhayels, arrived in June of 2017 and are flourishing in the community.

Representatives from Rideau Bridge to Canada were overwhelmed by the show of support from the community. “In order to sponsor a refugee family to come to Canada, we need to raise about $40,000 to pay for the family’s living expenses in their first year,” explained Chair Audrey Bridge. “The money raised tonight brings us up to more than half of that goal. It means that, if our new refugee family gets the nod to come to Merrickville tomorrow, we have enough money in the bank to pay for their first six months,” she added, noting that Holy Trinity Anglican Church (Merrickville) is a co-sponsor in this effort.

The Ceilidh Girls would like to thank the event’s sponsors for contributing greatly to the success of the event: Anita deVries-Bonneau – Royal LePage Team Realty, Doef Studios, Fleurish Floral Design, Gypsy Rose Wedding & Event Services, Laura’s Shop, Mejan Graphics Design, Miricks Landing Country Store, Nana B’s Bakery, Ren’s Renos & Home Improvements, Rowland Leather, Spa Sans Souci, Summa Strategies Canada, SweetLegs Merrickville with Heather, Tea by G, Juliann Whitney Wellness Coach, and Wick Witch Apothecary.

Donations are still being accepted: please send your cheque, payable to ‘Ceilidh Girls Fundraising’, to J. Graham, 1091 Highway 43 East, Merrickville, Ontario, K0G 1N0.
This was the third fundraiser held by the Ceilidh Girls, who formed in 2013 to help their friend Karen Brûlé defray the devastating cost of terminal illness; the ‘Ceilidh for Karen’ raised more than $70,000. In 2014, both Karen Brûlé and Ceilidh Chairperson Michelle Williams lost their battles with cancer, inspiring the Ceilidh Girls to hold a second fundraiser; held in 2016 to benefit Beth Donovan Hospice, the “Hospice Hoedown” raised more than $37,000.

Follow the Ceilidh Girls on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theCeilidhGirls

For more information about the Rideau Bridge to Canada Refugee Support Group, please visit www.merrickville-bridge.ca.

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