News and Events
Our Young Adults keep on making us proud by their commitment to help nonprofits that assist the underprivileged. Within two short months, they organized a successful charity drive for Safe Alliance and a fundraising event for the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF). Both charities were incredibly grateful for the donations made by this group of conscientious young people from The Metrolina Phoenician Club.
The Young Adults held a charity drive for Safe Alliance - a local shelter for women and children victimized by domestic abuse - by appealing to the community to donate sheets, towels and comforters at the Spring Picnic on April 17. Several community members responded and altogether about 30 items were collected. On May 26, the donation was presented to Kathy Gauger, Director of Residential Services at Safe Alliance, by Young Adults representative Johnny Mawardi accompanied by board member Tony Bikhazi, who has been instrumental in teaching the Young Adults about the club's commitment to supporting nonprofits that assist the underprivileged.
The Young Adults then held a fundraising dance on May 22 that raised $1,030 for the Charlotte Chapter of the PCRF, an organization that provides free medical care to the children of the Middle East who are innocent victims of war. The PCRF committee members invited the Young Adults to a meeting to personally thank them for the donation and to recognize them for their contributions to society. The meeting took place on May 31 at the home of PCRF committee member Nadeen Dahir, who presented each of the Young Adults with a token of appreciation. Present to receive the gifts were Elie Zakhem, Salim Faik, Rawan Abbasi, Elissa Saad and Leila Zakhem. They graciously accepted a gift on behalf of Johnny Mawardi who was unable to attend.
Thereafter, the head of the Young Adults committee Abeer Saad presented PCRF-Charlotte President Randa Eldirini with a check for $1,030, representing the profits from the fundraising dance. Abeer explained that the Young Adults rganize three fundraising events a year and the proceeds of each one are designated to a specific charity. Besides the PCRF, the Young Adults support Loaves & Fishes, a local charity that provides groceries to people in need, and Syrian refugees via different nonprofit organizations.
The Young Adults were touched by the appreciation shown to them by Safe Alliance and the PCRF, who have inspired them to continue on the path of supporting nonprofits who help people in need.
Our Young Adults outdid themselves again! The highly anticipated Parent-Child Dance on Sunday, May 22 was lots of fun for the families who attended. In keeping with the Hawaiian theme, the place was colorfully decorated and everyone looked festive wearing floral leis in different colors. The MC was none other than Abeer Saad, head of the Young Adults committee, who led the children in exciting games that included musical chairs, limbo dancing and volleyball with an array of fun beach balls.
The most heartwarming moment of the evening was the father-daughter and mother-son dance and that's what it was all about: family love. Once the dancing was over, winners of the door prize and the candy guessing game were announced. It was followed by a live auction of several kid-approved gift baskets. The children had a great time bidding for the baskets, while one of our Young Adult members outbid everyone for the big item draw, a stunning Hawaiian-inspired artwork.
The best part is that all the fun was for a good cause! The dance was a fundraiser and profits will be donated to the Charlotte Chapter of the Palestine Children Relief Fund (PCRF), a nondenominational and transparent organizations that provides free medical care to poor children of the Middle East who are innocent victims of the war.
We thank everyone who showed their support by being there. We'd also like to acknowledge the following people for their generous donations: The owners of Zeitouni Meditteranan Grill for providing the door prize (dinner for four people); Hajar Al Hasan for painting and donating the beautiful artwork for the auction; and Nadeen Dahir from the PCRF, whose family donated three gorgeous gift baskets for the auction.
Last but not least, thanks to International House on Central Avenue for the use of their gym and Napoli Italian Restaurant in Monroe for preparing the delicious food. The food was more than enough and quite a bit was untouched, so in the spirit of helping those less fortunate the Young Adults donated all of it to the Men's Shelter of Charlotte, who were grateful for the much-needed charity.
We are pleased to announce that our Vice President Dr. Wissam Nadra has opened a brand new pediatric clinic in Denver, NC. The opening reception of Lakeshore Pediatric Center on April 29 was attended by several members of The Metrolina Phoenician Club, who spoke for the entire board when they wished Dr. Nadra continued success and prosperity.
Representatives from the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce were also present at the ribbon cutting ceremony to congratulate Dr. Nadra, who has established himself as one of the leading pediatric doctors in the region. In 2015, Dr. Nadra was named by his peers as one of Charlotte's Top Docs. In recognition of this honor, the Metrolina Phoenician Club presented him with an achievement award at the annual haffleh on October 3 of last year.
It took over one year to build the 4,000 square foot clinic, which currently has 10 employees including two nurse practitioners. "It has been a slow but steady process, but everything came into place beautifully," said Dr. Nadra. "I am grateful to the many good people who supported me - especially my wife and children and my mother - but also the local community who believed in me. It couldn't have happened without the support of the banks, and the great architect and builder that we worked with. We also had a lot of support from the members of The Metrolina Phoenician Club, who showed us a lot of love and believed in us."
Our annual Spring Picnic on Sunday, April 17 drew a large crowd of community members of all ages. Family and friends had a great time socializing and smoking hookah, while the children played games and had fun hitting a piñata filled with treats.
Everyone enjoyed the lunch, especially the main item served which was falafel sandwiches prepared by our favorite chef Omar ElKara. Also on the menu were chicken strips provided by Flip'n Chicken, pizza, hummus, baba ghanoush, salad, cookies, cupcakes and watermelon. President Azad Khouri and the board of the Metrolina Phoenician Club extends its sincere appreciation to everyone for their support and we look forward to seeing you at our next event!
The joy of community get-togethers was evident at this year’s annual Dutch Treat. Held on Sunday, March 13 at Napoli Italian Restaurant in Monroe, the event drew a number of families as well as new community members who were anxious to learn more about the club. There was the usual mingling before everyone was seated and then Past President Lamia Hanna welcomed everyone present. Lamia explained that she stepped down at the beginning of the year to give someone else the opportunity to lead the club. "I’m still on the board and very much involved," she said to a heartfelt applause. The new Vice President Dr. Wissam Nadra then spoke on behalf of the newly elected President Azad Khuri, who was unable to attend due to a family emergency.
Dr. Nadra talked about the benefits of club membership and encouraged everyone present to attend the club’s upcoming events, starting with the Spring Picnic on April 24. He then invited Abeer Saad, head of the Young Adults Committee, to talk about their forthcoming hiking trip to Crowders Mountain State Park. "We hope to see more young people from our community get involved, because they are the future of our club," she said. The hike is on April 9 and for young adults 14 years and older.
Everyone then enjoyed the lunch, which included a choice of favorite Italian dishes such as pizza, chicken parmesan and spaghetti and meatballs. It was accompanied by a toss salad, garlic bread and for dessert there was a delicious tiramisu. The Metrolina Phoenician Club is grateful to the owners of Napoli, club members Elias and Walid Francis, for preparing a thoroughly enjoyable feast for the occasion.
Fabulous Fun at Annual Haffleh
Our haffleh on October 3 was a huge success thanks to everyone who attended and had a ball dancing to the live music of Mahmoud Beydoun and his band. You made all of our efforts worth it!
This year’s “Starry Night” theme celebrated famous Lebanese celebrities and so tables were named after legendary stars like Fairuz and Nancy Ajram. There was a life-size cutout of singers Elissa and Wael Kfoury, which provided a fun photo op for guests.
In her opening address, President Lamia Hanna paid tribute to the board members and their families, for working together to ensure that every event is a success and that people feel welcome. She then honored two community members: Board member Dr. Wissam Nadra for being ranked by his peers as one of the region’s Top Docs 2015, and Diane Gilbert for her continuous support over the years. Diane supplies and donates all printed material for the haffleh, including the Program books and tickets.
After dinner was served, President Lamia Hanna told everyone present that since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there would be a collection at the haffleh for the Susan G. Komen foundation – and the club would then match the money raised. By the end of the night, $259 was collected in a pink box allocated for the donations, therefore $518 in total will be presented to this worthy cause.
The Young Adults were also invited to the stage to talk about their fundraising activities over the year. “We feel incredibly blessed and we understand that we have a responsibility to give back to society,” said Elie Zakhem who spoke on behalf of the group. He then called Sarah Ghannam, a young member of the club who recently received an MPC scholarship, to speak about a walkathon she is organizing to help Syrian refugees. It will be promoted at a Syrian cultural stand she is having at the UNCC International Festival on October 17.
The rest of the evening was all about dancing and socializing and several valuable raffle prizes were won by some lucky guests. We were happy to hear many people say that they had a great time at the haffleh. A big “thank you” goes out to everyone who bought tickets, gave donations and advertised in our Program Book. Your support brings the community together and keeps the club going for future generations.
Adults socialized, smoked hookah and danced to Arabic music while the little ones played games and had fun hitting a piñata filled with treats. Everyone agreed that the lunch served was absolutely delicious. The main items on the menu were falafel prepared by Board Member and chef extraordinaire Omar ElKara, and an assortment of yummy chicken strips provided by Flip'n Chicken. Pizza, hummus, salad, a variety of desserts and watermelon were also served.
President Lamia Hanna welcomed everyone and then presented an appreciation award to club members Elie and Lilian Richa, who generously donate the Arabic bread served at every one of our events. She thanked the Richas for their constant support and handed them an engraved trophy as a token of appreciation.
The board of the Metrolina Phoenician Club extends its sincere appreciation to everyone for their support and we look forward to seeing you at our next event!
Over 100 people showed up to watch "We Became Americans Finally" at our annual Movie Night held on Thursday, April 9. The comedic play is one of the famous AJYAL Theatrical Group's shows about Middle Easterners adapting to life in the United States. The Arabic-language routine was interspersed with broken English and had the audience laughing out loud. (We regret that due to technical problems the English subtitles couldn't be shown as advertised.) It was a great way for the community to enjoy each other's company while munching on pop corn and other treats. The event was held at Cinebarre Arboretum on Providence Road.
March 6, 2015
March 6, 2015: The Metrolina Phoenician Club is pleased to have co-sponsored the Opening Reception of Cedars in the Pines museum exhibit, held on March 6 at the Levine Museum of the New South. About 200 guests attended and were treated to a first look at the exhibit, which tells the 130-year history of the Lebanese presence in North Carolina.
The evening began at 5:30pm with a cocktail reception, where guests mingled and enjoyed a lavish spread of Lebanese food provided by co-sponsor Empire Eats, which is based in Raleigh and owns the famous Lebanese restaurant Sitte. Opening remarks began at 6:30pm with Emily Zimmern, President & CEO of Levine Museum, welcoming everyone and thanking the organizations that sponsored the reception. She added that the Levine Museum is honored to present the exhibit, which is on loan from the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.
Speaking on behalf of the MPC was Tony Bikhazi, State Vice President of the Southern Federation of Syrian Lebanese American Clubs, who talked about the many achievements of Lebanese immigrants in this great state and nation. He was followed by Dr. Akram Khater, Director of the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies. Dr. Khater thanked the sponsors and paid tribute to Dr. Moise A. Khayrallah, a Lebanese immigrant whose story epitomizes the American dream. Through hard work he achieved great financial success and decided to give back to his adopted country by donating $8.1 million to fund an academic program focused on documenting the Lebanese history in North Carolina and the United States. Last but not least, Dr. Khayrallah addresses the crowd and expressed his gratitude for the opportunities America provides for immigrants. He then welcomed guests to view the exhibit.
Cedars in the Pines is a multimedia exhibit featuring personal stories, family photographs, home movies, letters, artifacts, and audio recordings that bring to life the story of Lebanese immigration in North Carolina. The exhibit opens to the public March 7 and runs until August 2015. We encourage our members to take their family and friends to see it and learn more about our history in this great state. Cedars in the Pines was researched and developed by the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at N.C. State University.
We are still reeling from the success of our Annual Christmas Party and General Assembly on December 14, 2014. Around 200 members attended and the numbers far exceeded our expectations of about 125! To everyone who attended, thank you for showing your support and for making the party fun and memorable.
President Lamia Hanna opened the evening by welcoming everyone present. She then called the current board members to the stage (see list below), plus three individuals who provide invaluable support to the club: Rudy Mazigi the webmaster, Tom Beathe the treasurer, and Omar El Kara who prepares the delicious food served at most of our events. Lamia then introduced the club’s first Young Adults Committee and gave each member a club T-Shirt to “wear proudly.”
Next to speak was Tony Bikhazi, Board Member and State Vice-President of the Southern Federation of Syrian and Lebanese American Clubs. He appealed to everyone to support the club’s Scholarship Program, which is growing rapidly and in need of more funding. Tony then invited everyone to attend the Southern Federation’s upcoming conference that is taking place in Atlanta from February 13-15.
Last but not least, Vice-President Azad Khuri called for nominations for the board and subsequently the current members were reelected for another year. Once the speeches and elections were over, guests were invited to the dinner buffet which was absolutely delicious by all accounts. While guests were dining and socializing, Abeer Saad, head of the Young Adults Committee, took to the stage and began the entertainment for the kids. A fun game of musical chairs was followed by a visit from Santa, who handed out gifts to children 10 years and younger. The kids then had fun parading in the Funny Christmas Hat competition, which was decided by, who else but kids!
The party was a success in more ways than one. We are pleased to report that about 60 families have already renewed their memberships for 2015. Members who have yet to renew are encouraged to do so before the end of the year. The rates are kept affordable at $50 per family and $25 per individual, so that membership is accessible to everyone. Payments can either be made by check or via the website.
- Payments by check should be made out to Metrolina Phoenician Club and addressed to The Metrolina Phoenician Club, Post Office Box 49327, Charlotte, NC 28277
- Online payments can be made via our website www.phoenicianclub.org
- Lamia Hanna – President
- Azad Khuri – Vice-President
- Tony Bikhazi – Board Member and State Vice-President of the Southern Federation of Syrian Lebanese American Clubs
- Natasha Beathe – Secretary
- Abeer Saad – Head of the Young Adults Committee
- Kelly Brais – Head of Marketing & Communications
- Wadih Zakhem
- Lina Itani
- Rolana Sbano
- Joseph Moubarak
- Dr. Wissam Nadra
Our Young Adults held an evening of fun and entertainment on November 15, and it was all for a good cause! Proceeds from the first Karaoke & Game Night will go to the Palestine Children's Relief Fund (PCRF), which provides free medical care for thousands of children in Palestine and other parts of the Middle East.
The family-oriented event took place at the YMCA Siskey Hemby Program and it drew a large number of kids and teenagers – along with their parents, who were happy to see their children having fun while making new friends. The Karaoke competition took place in the main hall while a variety of board games were played in two adjoining rooms.
In an effort to encourage young adults from our community to become actively involved with the Metrolina Phoenicia Club (MPC), board member Abeer Saad appealed to youths 14 years and older to volunteer to be on the first Young Adults committee. Six eager young people responded to the call to serve the community in 2015. They are Salim Fayek, Laila Hanna, Bella Moubarak, Elisa Saad, Elie Zakhem and Laila Zakhem. The team will work with Abeer and other adults on the committee, planning youth activities and providing assistance at MPC events.
The MPC’s commitment to assist charitable organizations was impressed upon the new Young Adults committee, when Abeer informed them that all proceeds from the Karaoke & Game Night would be donated to the Charlotte chapter of the PCRF.
Afterwards, PCRF representatives Randa Eldarini and Nadeen Daher gave a heartfelt presentation about the organization. They were joined on stage by 17-year old Fady Alareer from Gaza, who was brought to Charlotte by the PCRF to receive a prosthetic leg. His gentle nature and contagious smile warmed the hearts of everyone present.
We encourage all of our members to show their support for the PCRF, which has received a coveted 4-star rating from the Charity Navigator. Besides funds, the PCRF seeks host families for children like Fady, as well as medical assistance from local doctors. For more information, see www.pcrf.net or contact Randa Eldarini at 704-458-2313.
Our haffle on October 4 was a huge success thanks to everyone who attended and had a ball dancing to the live music of Tony Mikhael and his band. You made all of our efforts worth it!
This year, we introduced a Lebanese menu and theme that everyone wowed about. It included naming tables after Lebanese towns and installing a gorgeous Diwan photo booth where guests took fun photos of themselves wearing traditional hats. Over a dozen valuable raffle prizes were won by some lucky guests.
In her opening address, President Lamia Hanna highlighted the fact that the money raised at our annual haffle is donated to charitable organizations that the club regularly supports. She then honored two community members for their charitable works: Gabrielle Gorman for organizing a fundraising event to support a breast cancer foundation, and Charles Saleh for going on a mission trip to Lebanon to help Syrian refugees who are in desperate need.
Charles and Gabrielle remind us that we have a duty to help where help is needed and our club is committed to doing just that. This year’s haffle was fun and at the same time it helped raise around $8,000 net profit that will be donated to charitable organizations in Lebanon and the United States.
The Metrolina Phoenician Club is also committed to assisting young people in our community in obtaining a college education and Tony Bikhazi, State Vice President of the Southern Federation of Syrian Lebanese American Clubs, took to the stage to speak about this year’s scholarship program. The club awarded $7,000 to four young club members and they received an additional $3,000 total in scholarships from the Southern Federation. With the demand for scholarships expected to see a sharp increase in 2015, Tony appealed to guests to consider becoming a sponsor by filling out a pledge card in the Program Book. “No amount is too small and every donation helps,” he said.
We were happy to hear many people say that this year’s haffle was the best ever and we’d have to agree! That said, its real success is measured by the amount of worthy causes it is able to assist financially. We thank everyone who bought tickets, gave donations and advertised in our Program Book. Without your support we could not do it. Thank you!
See the Haffle pictures on our Photos page.
See the Spring Picnic pictures on our Photos page.
Our first Movie Night for the year was a huge success. About 70 people showed up to watch Nadine Labaki's award-winning movie “Where Do We Go Now?” The Lebanese movie was in Arabic with English subtitles, so a cross section of people were able to attend. It proved to be a great way for the community to enjoy each other's company in a relaxed setting. The event was held on Thursday, April 10 at AMC Carolina Pavilion 22 on South Blvd.
See the Movie Night pictures on our Photos page.
This year's annual Dutch Treat drew a huge crowd despite the drizzling rain. Held on Sunday, March 23 at Kabab Je Rotisserie & Grille in Matthews, the restaurant was filled to capacity with old and new members eager to try the restaurant's delicious Middle Eastern food.
Once everyone was seated, President Lamia Hanna introduced the new board members and then Tony Bikhazi spoke about the club's Scholarship Fund. Everyone was then asked to look for three envelopes that were secretly placed under the dining tables. Prizes were given to the lucky members who were seated where the envelopes were hidden.
Jihad Daou received the third prize of a $25 Olive Garden gift card, Mike Fluck received the second prize of a Lebanese cookbook, and Shari Solomon received the first prize of a one-year family membership to the MPC as well as a T-Shirt with the club's logo. Later on TJ Solomon won the raffle prize, a Nook eBook reader.
Everyone enjoyed the fun and welcoming atmosphere and of course the food. The restaurant prepared a delightful mezza comprised of kabees, fattoush, grape leaves and babaganoush. It was followed by an entrée of shish tawouk and kafta served with hummus and grilled vegetables. A vegetarian and kids option was also available.
See the Dutch Treat pictures on our Photos page.
On September 23, 2012 the Metrolina Phoenician Club had a picnic at Park Road Park. We were blessed with great weather and a great turn out!
The children played games while the adults had a great time chatting and laughing and of course eating the delicious falafel made by our very own Omar Al Ara. Alongside the falafel sandwhiches that were made fresh onsite by a great group effort, there were plenty of side items, drinks and desserts graciously brought in by our members.
Thank you to all that have contributed their time and energy to bringing and serving the food as well as the ones that helped out with the clean up! This event was a success and look forward to doing it again next year!
See the Fall Picnic movie on our Photos page.
Our Dutch Treat luncheon was held at the Greek Isles Restaurant on Sunday, March 25 at 2:00 PM. Approximately 60 club members with their family and friends enjoyed good food and fun.
Servings consisted of a vegetarian creole over rice, grilled shrimp over rice, Greek chicken and included salad, coffe/tea/soda, and lukamadies for dessert. See the Dutch Treat event pictures on our Photos page.
Tony Bikhazi, board member of the Metrolina Phoenician Club welcomed the membership to the annual meeting and looked forward to the participation of the younger generation in the activities of the Club. He mentioned that at the end of the year 2010 we did not have our annual meeting and did not have our Hafleh in 2011, which meant that we did not generate the funds needed for our charities. However, the Pheonician Club hopes to make it up to its charities in 2012. Tony thanked all the people that have served the Metrolina Phoenician Club from the community and as board members and looked forward to a special Hafleh in 2012 to celebrate our 25th anniversary since the Club was established.
After introducing the current board members he indicated that although we are gathered today to reminisce and share our news, we are also gathered to vote for the elections of the board members for the year 2012. A copy of the article of constitution, the bylaws and objectives of the Club were left on each table for all members to review.
He reiterated the purpose of the club as mentioned in article 2 of the constitution:
- A. To serve as a social organization for Lebanese and Lebanese-Americans and others who support our common objectives.
- B. To preserve the Lebanese heritage and traditions.
- C. To promote and support humanitarian efforts in Lebanon
- Lebanese Society - Deaf and Blind
- Crèche Saint Vincent
- Children's Cancer Society of Lebanon
- The Shelter for Battered Women, Charlotte
Steve Flaherty, board member and treasurer of the Club, took the podium and indicated that a copy of the financial report was passed to all attendees. He indicated that we are fortunate to have eleven people interested in running for the Board: Tony Bikhazi, Dr. Sylvie Yessayan, John Lowen, Stephen Flaherty, Jihad Daou, Dr. Mary Ann Karim, Alaeddin Alyateem, Mazen Abu Chakra, Lamia Hanna, Charles Saleh, and Azad Khuri. Since the Club bylaws permit 11 people on the Board, Steve suggested that the nominees are elected by acclamation. The request for election by acclamation was moved and seconded with the members voting yes and none opposed or abstaining. The motion was duly passed.
Following the election of the Board, Pierre Arbajian from the Middle East Council of The Carolinas took the podium to introduce the organization whose objective is to promote ties between the Charlotte and the Carolina community in general and in the Middle Eastern community. He mentioned that the Middle Eastern Festival will be held on April 22nd at Queens University, and welcomed the Metrolina Phoenician Club to participate, indicating that through cooperative and collaborative work such as this we can help to promote each other's causes.
Food was plentiful. The main courses were supplied by the Metrolina Phoenician Club, and the members contributed with a variety of covered dishes and desserts. Everyone enjoyed a good dinner and great desserts. See the Hafleh pictures and movie on our Photos page.
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