Fort St. James is ready to do their part and welcome two Syrian families to their home town.
And the Syrian Refugee Group of Fort St. James is ready as fundraising is underway.
Only after four meetings, the group has already committed to sponsoring two Syrian families and budgeting is now in the works.
Over 8 million Syrians have been displaced and 4 million have fled conflict and poverty in hope of finding a better future and a new opportunity elsewhere.
About 25,000 refugees are set to arrive in Canada in 2016.
“It’s all about making them feel safe,” said group member, Louise Evan-Salt.
Evan-Salt has played an integral part in finding out more about the process of sponsorship through the Mennonite Central Committee who are based in Abbotsford B.C.
This international organization has been approved for this purpose and it is keen to help various groups like the one in Fort St. James get through the sponsorship process.
And with the situation being as desperate as it is, Fort St. James could see a Syrian family in the community within 1-4 months.
But first, it’s all about money.
The blended sponsorship program seems the most favored option as government assistance will be made available throughout the one year commitment.
About $27,500 needs to be secured and ready before the process can even begin.
Priorities such as a budget (for clothing, food, etc.) and housing must be presented as well before applying for sponsorship.
The group is committed and is now asking for donations and support from the community.
The first Syrian refugee fundraising event will take place on March 19th.
A Toonie Gift Basket Fundraiser is inviting anyone, including all local companies and organizations to donate a basket of gifts.
The draw for the gift baskets will take place at a pot luck ethnic dinner at the Fort St. James High School gym. Baskets are to be ready for collection on March 11.
The ethnic dinner invites all to bring an ethnic dish to the school gym for a family night of food, fun and even some belly dancing, drumming, a performance by a Syrian Family from Prince George and face painting thrown in to complete the evening.
For more information, contact: Nancy at (250) 996-3671 email@example.com
Joyce at (250) 839-3134 firstname.lastname@example.org
The next Syrian Refugee Group meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday March 16 at the Fort St. James Public Library. All are welcome.