A Canada-wide campaign to raise funds for family members of those killed on Flight PS752 in Iran was launched Monday with a call for people across the country to support those left behind with “the unexpected expenses that have tragically fallen upon them.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down the Boeing 737-800 using surface-to-air missiles, Iranian leaders said Saturday, killing all 176 passengers and crew on board. Fifty-seven of those who died were Canadian citizens, while dozens of others were travelling to Canada.
“I’m here to announce the Canada Strong Campaign, a national campaign to raise, hopefully, $1.5 million for the families of the victims — all Canadian victims all across the country,” Mohamad Fakih, president of Paramount Fine Foods and founder of the Fakih Foundation said at the launch in Toronto.
“They leave behind spouses, colleagues and friends who need your support during this life-altering period. If there was ever a time, the time is now for all of us to come together and support one another.”
Fakih called on Canadians to find it in their hearts to donate, and also to help by sharing the campaign with everyone they know.
“Let’s all stand together united in ensuring that those we lost are never forgotten and that their families and friends feel Canada’s embrace,” he said.
Fakih said he wants the families and friends of the victims to know that he recognizes it’s not always easy to accept financial help.
But he also assured them, “You are not accepting any help from strangers. We are one family, one big family, a Canadian family.”
The campaign will be overseen by a charitable fund that also raised money for the families of victims of the Toronto van attack.
“We will ensure that this initiative is very well governed and managed with full transparency and accountability,” Fakih said.
“I will take care personally of all the expenses and costs of the campaign and I will make sure, along [with] all our partners, that 100 per cent of the money donated will be given to the victims’ families and friends,” Fakih said.
‘Please step forward’
Mayor John Tory took part in Monday’s campaign launch, and he too encouraged Canadians and companies to step forward with donations.
“I think many, many Canadians, [corporations] and individual will want to contribute to this because they understand the fact that beyond their outpouring of affection and grief … the other thing that is needed is some degree of financial help,” Tory said.
“This is a national initiative. This is meant to ask Canadians … to please follow through on the generosity of spirit that you’ve demonstrated with respect to all of the vigils and commemorations, which have happened across the country … and to stay to the corporate community, please step forward.”