A Syrian family which the Comox Valley Refugee Support Committee has been sponsoring since November in Algeria is due to arrive in the Valley Oct. 6.
The family of four includes two daughters, ages four years and 18 months. They prefer to withhold their name at this point.
The refugee support group, led by Darren and Caron Mulgrew, holds a sponsorship agreement under the Roman Catholic Diocese of Vancouver, and is a constituent group of Christ the King parish. The focus is on the safety and resettlement of this family and others to follow.
Private sponsors need to raise enough funds to support a family for a year. The group has contributed funds to the family during their wait in Algeria. Through used jewelry sales, a lobster boil, donations and other initiatives, the group has exceeded its $40,000 target. It is looking to sponsor a second family from Syria.
“The response to our fundraising and other needs has been overwhelmingly positive in the Comox Valley,” Caron says in a Sept. 7 news release.
The group, she notes, has received hundreds of hits on its Syrian Refugee Committee page on Facebook. Donations have been received through CanadaHelps.com and Christ the King Parish.
“In the past four days, several hundred dollars have been donated, which will go towards our sponsorship of the next family. Little by little, we are making a difference.”
Before the family arrives, the support team will set up an apartment with donated furniture and household goods. The Immigrant Welcome Centre, doctors, a dentist and other service providers have been contacted. Once the family arrives, other needs such volunteer tutoring will be identified.
If interested in volunteering or fundraising for the second family, contact the Mulgrews at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tax receiptable donations can be made through CanadaHelps.com (Comox Valley Refugee Support Committee) and the parish.
The Comox Valley has a tradition of resettling refugees. Over the past 45 years, families from Vietnam, El Salvador, Bosnia, Kosovo and Palestine, to name a few, have become an active part of the community.