Turkish breakfast for at the Grand Plaza

Turkish Breakfast for Charitable Purposes

March 2023 Business

Carol Jardine


Just over a month ago disaster struck in Turkey and Syria. A major earthquake measuring Mw 7.8 destroyed many cities in the east of Turkey and towns in neighbourind Syria. Texts and WhatsApp from my former students at the renowned Bogazici University, Istanbul erupted on my mobile. Bogazici University is one of the top two state universities in Turkey, admitting only the brightest and the best students from all over Turkey. Many came from the East, and their families had warmly hosted me while on a trip to the East, and enduring friendships has been made with grannies, grampas, nieces nephews, and parents.

I had just arrived in Sarajevo for a short break and was shocked and saddened by the texts I received, family missing, homes and businesses obliterated and everyone frozen in icy fear, as the shakes continued day after day and the sparsely clad inhabitants too fearful to enter their homes. I felt helpless and deeply saddened as family deaths were reported daily.

Money, clothes, food and blankets were needed urgently. Urgent fundraising was required, but I needed a voice. Having worked for The Adriatic in the past, I approached their kindly editor, Tine Kracun, and asked for his support in organizing a fundraising Turkish breakfast for the Earthquake Fund. He readily agreed, so all I needed was a venue. And the food. And the people.

Photo: ISR

My next stop on that frantic morning was to the Grand Plaza, start at the top, I thought and work down. To my delight and amazement, they also readily agreed to donate their luxurious VIP Lounge and the coffee and tea, as well as their amazingly helpful Events Manager, Anja Zagar. Next stop, food – as an unaccomplished cook, I can manage grilled peppers and humous, but not much more – but my Turkish friend, Event Manager, Ebru Mumcouglu came to the rescue, despite already being heavily involved with arranging clothes and blanket collections. She coordinated three or four Turkish friends to make the breakfast an authentic Turkish delight. Ebru and her friends donated the most delicious Turkish breakfast salads of feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and olives, cheese and meat borek, baklava, bread and real Turkish honey. The Adriatic and I provided fresh farm eggs, tomatoes, feta cheese, humous, peppers, olives and a variety of (Slovenian) jams. We estimated 25-30 attendees.

We advertised on Facebook and Linkedin and requested an RSVP. No replies were forthcoming, and friends were giving ambivalent “maybe’s” and by the night before we had received precisely zero replies! I had a sleepless night. Slovenia is not accustomed to this kind of fundraising, I was told.

The next morning at 7.30 am, the food started to arrive and by 8.30 am there was a breakfast buffet fit for a sultan, and we waited with bated breath…

My friend, Andreja arrived first, a Professor from the university, and gradually, people trickled in filling the grand table with a host of tongues – Russian, Hungarian, English, Turkish and of course, Slovenian, and by 9.00 am the breakfast was in full flow. I was too wound up to eat, and although I hope I managed to thank everyone that came personally, I didn’t make my intended speech.

However, I am fully aware that the attendees knew why they were there and everyone contributed to the Disasters Emergency Committee, Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal. We made 500 Euros.

As the crowd dispersed, we were still left with a feast of food, and with the agreement of ISR and Ebru, the hotel helped us package up the remaining food and Anja, the hotel manager and my dentist friend, Ljubica, helped med carry three large bags of goodies around the corner to the Kralje Street Hostel for the homeless where the kings of the street, had a meal fit for a king!

Fundraising is not common in Slovenia, and I am hoping that we, in Slovenia, can hold quizzes, tennis tournaments and other fun events to raise money and awareness for needy causes in the future.