George Mezher and Nola Mezher

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December 29, 2009
George Mezher and his sister Nola Mezher from Haberfield. In 1981 they established the charity Our Lady of Snows after striking it lucky in Lotto. George and Nola's first priority, however, was to do something for the homeless and underprivileged in the inner city. They set up a soup kitchen. But it is not just any soup kitchen. People do not have to line up; there is table service. Some people say it is the best restaurant in Pitt Street. Clothing and other essential items are also given away. For many homeless people the soup kitchen is not only a place to go for a hot meal and some company; it is the first step to getting their lives back together again. After their Lotto windfall, George and Nola established no fewer than 14 suburban refuges. Those refuges provide short-term to medium-term stays for people who, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times. George and Nola have spent their own money and expended a tremendous amount of effort to provide help and opportunities for people in need, but somehow they have still found time to raise over $350,000 for other charities. Although they have not sought recognition, it has deservingly come their way. George and Nola have been awarded the Order of Australia and, for two years running, the Dr Victor Chang Golden Hearts Award. They have also received a papal blessing for service to the church. Once, when asked why they took this path, they replied: "One has to do something worthwhile in this life and in this world. Besides, the country has been good to us and we feel we should put something back into it. What a wonderful world it would be if one could share his or her good fortune with the less fortunate." What a way to spend a Lotto gain. George and Nola Mezher are not only two great Lebanese Australians, they are, of course, by any test, two great Australians.

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