The Syrian Refugee Subgroup is welcoming in the New Year with gratitude and anticipation! To date we have received over $150,000 to support our Syrian newcomers - thank you to all for your tremendous generosity!
We have made initial contact with our first Syrian family, found through contacts in the Capital Rainbow Refuge group -- a husband and wife with three daughters (the oldest of whom is not coming to Canada because she is engaged to be married), a son, and one set of grandparents. We have also just found a second family through the Canadian government's Blended Visa Office Referral Program (BVOR). It includes a husband and wife and five children ranging from ages one to eight. We are going to wait a bit before starting the process to bring over a third family as we don’t want to over-tax our volunteers!
Speaking of volunteers, most of our teams are well in hand - they have met and some have started their work. The Housing Team has been actively looking for accommodations, contacting landlords, and following up on leads. The In-Kind Donations Team has created a full inventory and has been locating furniture and household items. We have also developed a Syrian Refugee Memorandum of Understanding Team who is in discussions with five private groups who wish to sponsor Syrian refugees through the Canadian Unitarian Council. We are offering our support to expedite their sponsorship process.
Our Syrian Refugee Subgroup is benefiting not only from the work and donations of our congregants but from many people outside the congregation who have been attracted by our work and principles and who have come forward to help. We appreciate everyone's contributions and look forward to welcoming our families and helping them settle in our community.
If you would like further information about our work with Syrian newcomers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What an amazing outpouring of support from our community - both financial and otherwise!
We have now received $133,000 to help us sponsor at least three Syrian refugee families!!
As yet, we’ve had no success in obtaining a family through the government assisted program, so our group is now exploring the possibility of private sponsorship arrangements. We are trying hard to practice patience as we learn more about the complexities involved in sponsoring Syrian families.
Speaking of patience, we have had such a positive response from potential volunteers that we have had to create a waiting list of sorts, for those who have contacted us most recently. We hope to get back to everyone soon, and your continued patience is greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, we are delighted that 45 people who were sent volunteer forms, have completed them and are ready to contribute! If you haven’t yet filled in your form, please do so asap and send it back to our volunteer coordinator.
If you have any questions or would like more information on our work, please contact: email@example.com
As of today, we have received $87,000 to help us sponsor a Syrian family!!
Thanks to generous donations from people inside and outside our First Unitarian Congregation, we are now considering sponsoring two families. With the help of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC), the Syrian Refugee Sub-Group is in the process of choosing these families from the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program. Once we complete that process and know who the families will be and when they might arrive, we can move forward with other important work such as finding and furnishing their accommodations, setting up family support teams, and generally planning for their arrival and settlement in our community.
We have also been approached by other groups who are interested in sponsoring a Syrian family. Some of these folks have decided to combine their efforts with ours and have joined our group - we are very pleased to welcome them on board!
We are still gratefully accepting donations, including post-dated cheques. If you wish to donate, please make your cheque payable to the First Unitarian Congregation with “refugee fund” in the memo line and send to the First Unitarian Church, 30 Cleary Avenue, Ottawa, ON K2A 4A1. Tax receipts will be issued.
If you would like to help by volunteering - or if you would like more information about our work - please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drawing courtesy of Brian Chapman