Encinitas family raising money for Lebanon

A GoFundMe by an Encinitas family is supporting Lebanon after the explosion in Beirut.

After the explosion in Beirut earlier this month that left about 200 people dead and thousands more injured, an Encinitas-based GoFundMe is raising money to help the region rebuild.

“I started crying, actually,” said Mariah Feghali, an Encinitas resident and senior at USC, recalling her reaction upon hearing reports of the Aug. 4 tragedy. “I was like, ‘Dad I want to help.’ I don’t know what’s happening and I want to help these people because obviously they are in need of help and have no homes no nothing now.”

As of the beginning of this week, the fundraiser has collected a little more than $8,000 of its $15,000 goal. More than 150 people so far have made donations, which will go to the American Lebanese Policy Institute and its partner organization in Lebanon.

“Lebanon needs our help more than ever!! If you can donate that would be an amazing relief to this suffering country,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Any amount, big or small, will help aid the impoverished citizens that keep hitting strife after strife with no ending in sight.”

Mariah said she saw on social media a lot of concern for the people in Beirut after videos of the blast, which is still under investigation, went viral.

“That made me feel a lot better because being Lebanese and knowing people that live over there, knowing that they are getting the attention that they deserve and need, especially at a time of political strife and government and financial instability,” she said. “This was definitely something that Lebanon finally needed.”

Her father, Elie, said “people are really sad, really concerned.” He added that their family members who live in the region are safe.

“It was devastating to see the news, to see the pictures and the videos that were going around,” Elie said.

“It’s just devastating to see the collapsed buildings, the complete destruction,” he continued. “Already Lebanon was suffering from the devaluation of the Lebanese pound, and COVID and poverty. It was adding insult to injury, between the riots and corruption of the government.”

The United States has provided the Lebanese people with $18 million worth of food, medicine and other relief, according to David Hale, a top U.S. diplomat. He added that Congress could appropriate up to $30 million as an interim measure to maintain the flow of grain through the Port of Beirut. The FBI is also going to assist in the investigation of the explosion.

For more information about the fundraiser, visit