With more than 80 people having joined the effort to help, Operation Refugees Haida Gwaii is now ramping up its fundraising efforts to secure the $50,000 necessary to sponsor two Syrian families.
The project is a grass-roots effort of islanders from Sandspit to Masset who have committed themselves in various ways to assist in the logistics and fundraising.
The group is working with the Blended Visa Office Referred Program. Under this application the government of Canada will contribute six months of income support and community sponsors will cover the other six months. The group will also meet the family at the airport and escort them home. The federal government will fund flights for the refugees to their new communities. The sponsors are also responsible for assisting the family in finding housing and ensuring the costs for housing are covered. Registering the children for school will be a priority as well as giving families a general orientation to the community. It is also required that the group find meaningful employment for the adults who are sponsored and provide language classes.
“Our group, Operation Refugees Haida Gwaii, is working on finding profiles of [sponsor]families that are related to one another,” spokesperson Beng Favreau said. The group is aiming to sponsor related families to help ease the transition easier on the families.
The group needs to raise $50,000, which may include in-kind donations like furnishings and clothing. A bank account has been set up for donations with the Northern Savings Credit Union. Donors can indicate if their contributions are for Sandspit or Queen Charlotte.
“All donations will receive charitable donation receipts as long as the donor’s address is provided,” Ms. Favreau said. Many community fundraisers are planned for the near future, one being a five course dinner for January 30 in Queen Charlotte. A coffee house is planned for January 29 as well as a Lawrence of Arabia screening Feb. 6.
Cash donations can be deposited at the the Northern Savings Credit Union to Operation Refugees Haida Gwaii. Alternately, cheques can be mailed to Box 448, Queen Charlotte, attention: Operation Refugees Haida Gwaii.
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