September 30, 2023
A local small business is raising funds for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria through sales of manakish, a popular dish in the region.

This Valentine’s Day, a local small business found a way to send love 6,000 miles away to victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
More than 41,000 people in Turkey and Syria died in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, and millions more are displaced in the freezing winter temperatures. Nine days later, teams are still rescuing survivors in the rubble.
Through the weekend, Alida’s Bakery in Everett is donating all profits from sales of manakish to Islamic Relief USA, a nonprofit on the ground helping people in Turkey and Syria.
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Manakish is a flatbread similar to naan that can be flavored with cheese, tomatoes, pesto, and other toppings. Alida’s owner Nechirvan Zebari said it is commonly eaten in the region hit by the quake.
“We thought it would be a really cool experience for people to come to experience the culture of those people, and at the same time know that the money that they are spending is going to be given to that cause,” Zebari said.
He also chose manakish for the fundraiser because it is the business’ most popular dish, and he wanted to be able to send as much money as possible to the earthquake victims.
And the profits are higher than usual — many of Zebari’s suppliers have slashed prices or given him free ingredients during the fundraiser, so his costs are greatly reduced. That means nearly every penny of your purchase will go directly to the cause.
“You’re probably looking at at least 95% of the money that’s being taken will be given over there,” he said.
Importantly, Islamic Relief provides aid to both Turkey and Syria. However, Zebari said that not every nonprofit is able to help Syria.
“They’re kind of cut off from the world politically — a lot of organizations can’t get in there because of the safety concerns and because of the political situation,” he said, adding, “it’s very important to bring awareness that buildings collapsed there, thousands of people have also died in Syria, and if people are looking to donate, donate to an organization that also gives to Syria, not just Turkey.”
Zebari’s family is from a town that could be thought of as the Blaine of Northern Iraq — it sits right on the border with Turkey and Syria. That means the earthquake hit close to home for him.
“It’s very close to our hearts,” he said.
Thankfully, none of his relatives or friends were hurt, but he wanted to do something for the millions of people who are suffering.
“It just absolutely burned me inside, I couldn’t overcome the emotions,” Zebari said of watching the earthquake footage.
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At first, he wanted to travel to the region to lend aid, but then he realized he could do plenty of good right here at home.
And he certainly has — as of Monday, Alida’s Bakery had raised $5,000 for earthquake relief. That’s twice as much as Zebari ever dreamed of, and the fundraiser still has several days to go. He encourages people who are looking for ways to help Turkey and Syria to stop by.
“Try something new, experience the culture, and know that 100% of the profits are going to helping these people,” he said.
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