Feast of support: Auction, cookout and ‘world’s most expensive waffles’ raise 300,000 kroner to help refugees


Perhaps it’s a bit contradictory for folks to be eating well to show their support for those facing dire plights, but they were also willing to pay very, very well to provide that help.

A trio of events in Longyearbyen during the past week raised about 300,000 kroner for the Norwegian Refugee Council’s efforts to assist those fleeing the civil war in Syria. Nearly all of it, about 289,000 kroner, was from a buffet and auction at the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel where Mouawia Lababidi, a Syrian who’s been living in the Longyearbyen since 2010, presented an overview of the crisis in his homeland.

“I am dumbfounded by what you have achieved in such a short time,” wrote Linda Jeanette Gresslien, an NRC official, in a Facebook post following the event. “I can promise that the money that goes to NRC will be put to very good advantage.”

About 12,000 kroner was raised during a sale of “the world’s most expensive waffles” (100 kroner each) at Svalbardbutikken and another 3,000 during a “Food in Nature” beach party last weekend next to the Svalbard Sailing Club.