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Burnaby sisters from Turkey spearhead earthquake relief fundraiser

Fundraising efforts at Burnaby's Brentwood Elementary School were led by two young sisters from Turkey and took in more than $2,500 for earthquake relief in Turkey and Syria.

When a pair of deadly earthquake struck Turkey and Syria last month, two Burnaby sisters wanted to help.

Alinda Tunc, 10, and her sister Alisa, 9, came to Canada from Turkey only two years ago, and news of the earthquake in their native country spurred them into action, according to Heather Kimmie, their principal at Brentwood Elementary School.

“It’s really hit home for them, and they wanted to give back and do something and make a difference,” Kimmie told the NOW.

Three weeks ago, the sisters sat down with Kimmie and pitched the idea of a fundraiser.

“They landed on ‘Toonies for Turkey and Syria,’” Kimmie said.

After gathering a team of 24 Grade 2 and 5 students, they made posters and prepared an announcement.

Kimmie also sent an email out to families.

The two-week fundraiser was launched Feb. 21.

On the first day, the fundraisers went around to each class and explained what the funds were needed for and how they would help.

Then, every morning for two weeks, they went around to each class and collected donations.

Their goal was to raise $1,000. Their final total was more than twice that: $2,514.65.

“They were so excited,” Kimmie said Friday. “Today, they screamed when I told them.”

The students involved told Kimmie they felt really good about helping out, and she said that filled her with pride, especially since the work was spearheaded and led by students throughout.

“I welled-up today, actually,” she said.

The funds raised will go to the Red Cross for earthquake relief efforts in Turkey.

Support for Turkey and Syria

Brentwood isn’t the only local school where students have raised funds to help people affected by the devastating earthquake.

Leadership students at Burnaby North Secondary held a pajama movie night, with proceeds going to the cause.

The Burnaby Mountain Secondary diversity club collected donations of food, clothing, blankets and more.

Leadership students at Alpha Secondary focused on gathering supplies for babies, such as diapers, clothes and blankets.

And Inman Elementary leadership students collected books by donation and then sold them to raise money. They also collected more money at a family movie night at the school.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor