Some of you may have seen the recent article in the North Shore News about the Syrian family (one of two) moving to Blueridge. Here is an update about the Abdulhafiz family and how the community is helping out.
This family has been privately sponsored by REST. (there are different ways that Syrian refugees have been sponsored – privately sponsored means that REST has agreed to provide financial and other support for the family for one year).
‘Regional Ecumenical Support Team’ (REST), is a partnership of 10 churches and individuals who have come together to support the sponsorship of refugees. The group operates in close cooperation with the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster and includes several churches on the North Shore.
A critical element of sponsorship involves finding suitable housing – no easy task in the tight housing market we find ourselves in. A new resident of Blueridge has very kindly decided to move out and provide her house at below-market rent to two Syrian refugee families. She felt that the families would have a good start in Blueridge – as we have such an active and welcoming community.
As you can imagine, it will take many hands to support the new families (the second one to arrive in the next few months). REST has organized everything, and the Blueridge Community Association (BCA) has asked them to let us know how we can help.
1) Lesley Brooks (BCA Welcome Committee
) attended a pot luck last Sunday to meet the family.
2) The BCA was asked to help “Fill the Fridge” and pantry in anticipation of the family’s arrival. We have 4 or 5 volunteers (Including Rotary Club
members) shopping for groceries, and some Middle Eastern specialities.
3) Ruth Hanson
, Blueridge resident and local realtor has donated $300 in Superstore gift cards to the family for helping with setting up the household. Jim Hanson (local resident and DNV Councillor) has done the same, for the second family who will be moving in later on. Thanks to Ruth and Jim, both long time supporters of the Blueridge Community Association and Blueridge Good Neighbour Day for helping out.
4) Bunk beds for the two boys have been found (many thanks to Marilyn Mackenzie and Sheryl Smythe) and will arrive on the weekend.
5) A Blueridge resident who speaks Arabic is willing to help with interpretation as needed. REST has organized lots of interpreters – but this would be the only local person.
To everyone, I want to say thank you for your willingness to help and your generosity. I am reminded (again) of what a great community we live in – with so many people who are interested in helping.
Stay tuned for more updates. There will be a second family (Mum, Dad and baby girl) arriving in the next few months. And I am sure there will be more to do once the Abdulhafiz family is settled in.