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giving back

Syrian refugees hold Canadian flags as they take part in a welcome service in Toronto in 2015.Mark Blinch/Reuters

The donors: Jack Rabba and family

The gift: Helping refugees from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere

When Jack Rabba arrived in Canada from the Middle East in the mid-1960s, he opened a small grocery store in downtown Toronto and soon helped other family members immigrate.

The Rabba family took turns running the store, ensuring that it stayed open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Eventually that single outlet grew into Rabba Fine Foods, a network of more than 30 grocery stores across the city.

Mindful of their immigrant roots, Mr. Rabba and his family became actively involved in several refugee causes. Today the company works with local refugee organizations and employs dozens of new arrivals from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. They work in all levels of the company, from store clerks to managers at the head office. The company and the family also sponsored a We Want Peace Concert to raise money for refugee projects and they have raised more than $225,000 for the Mississauga Food Bank.

"We want to give such individuals a chance to build their lives without going through all of the hardships some of my family members had to face," said Mr. Rabba's son, Rick Rabba. "It's really important to us and it's something we are very proud of."

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