Submitted to The Record
The Church Street Refugee Sponsorship Group is busy raising funds to bring refugees to the Comox Valley.
The funds raised will support three refugees from Africa to settle here under Canada’s Private Refugee Sponsorship Program. The group is working with St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox and the Anglican Diocese of BC. The refugees are living in Ethiopia and Uganda, two areas of Africa currently affected by political unrest and fighting.
The Comox Valley has a long history of helping refugees. Many of the people in the Church Street group have helped sponsor other refugees to come to Canada in the past. Some were involved in sponsoring refugees from East Africa, Syria, Bosnia, Iraq, Serbia, Kosovo and many years ago, Sudan, Laos, Czechoslovakia, and Vietnam. These experiences have helped shape the group’s commitment to sponsoring these refugees. They know what a difference private refugee sponsorship can make and how rewarding it is to help newcomers settle in Canada.
So far, the group has raised approximately $37,000. Most of these funds have come in as donations from individuals and groups in the Valley. Now, as the Church Street group awaits the arrival of the refugees, they are focused on raising an additional $38,000.
To raise funds, the group is selling exquisite hand-knit shawls, warm toques, mittens, and scarves, sewing cozy heat sacs, and gorgeous flower art cards. To learn more about all the items the group has created, visit the Fiesta World Craft Bazaar’s online Christmas Fair at fiestaworldcraftbazaar.org
All the money raised by the group will be used to support the refugees to settle in Canada. Privately sponsored refugees are not entitled to government assistance during the period of their sponsorship and their income support must be provided by their sponsors. The Church Street group will help the refugees settle here and become self-sufficient. Through this process, lifelong friendships will be formed, and the refugees will start a new chapter in their lives.
Anyone wishing to learn more about The Church Street Refugee Sponsorship Group or to make a donation can visit the website of St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox (https://www.stpeterscomox.ca/). Donations can be made by cheque, e-transfer, or through Canada Helps. Receipts will be given for donations over $50.