As simple and as common as it is, “What can I do?” is a very powerful question. Many people I know are asking this question of themselves due to the overwhelming humanitarian disaster created by the mass exodus of refugees from Syria in the face of crimes against humanity.
I am very pleased to be a part of a group of people from Deep River and beyond who have chosen to respond to “What can I do?” They have done so by committing to the sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family despite the fears stirred of late by the dreadful taking of lives in Paris. Our group has taken the formal name DEEP RIVER WELCOME.
This growing partnership of Muslims and Christians, as well as folks not associated with a religious organization, in Deep River is well on its way to raising the required funds to bring at least one family from the refugee camps to our town. Individuals and families from the Ottawa Valley Islamic Centre, Deep River Community Church, St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, and several others not associated with these communities, have already raised cash donations exceeding $54,000 to help bring this about. There are still many details which need to be attended to but the collective will is there as we prepare to sponsor at least one family under the Federal Government’s Blended Visa Office Referred Program (BVOR). This program precedes the recently proposed Federal plan to bring 25,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict to Canada. Our response is part of the joint partnership between sponsors and the Federal Government which requires at least a $50,000 financial commitment per family, half of which will be covered by the Federal Government – so we are well on our way.
If you would like to join us in contributing to this answer to the powerful question which many feel in the face of such global humanitarian challenges let us know. We continue to raise funds based on the assumption that we will require more resources due to the particular needs of refugees whose lives have been traumatized by war crimes including rape, torture, and summary executions. Beyond financial resources we also need help with such things as transportation, clothing, and the like for the family once they are here.
If you are interested in being a part of this answer to a powerful question which can help change our world for the better, you can call us at 613-584-4131 (St. Barnabas Church Office) and let us know. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please be advised that all donations are tax deductible and that we will not accept any article of clothing or furniture, which is not in very good condition. Committees are being set up at this time to manage the donations of goods, services, furniture, and clothing. The office at St. Barnabas will receive your phone calls and forward them on to the appropriate volunteer in the coming weeks.
We have recently experienced a 3-week delay in the posting of families from the government that will be available to come to Canada due to changes in government processing guidelines. We expect within the next week to select a family who will then begin to prepare to come to Deep River.
In the face of so much in this world which vexes our hearts this is something we can do which responds in a sharing and life giving manner.
I hope you will join us…