Syrian refugee crisis – how can I help locally?

With the news that one Syrian refugee family is arriving in Blueridge this month, with another on the way – people are asking, “How can I help?”.

The Blueridge Community Association is not sponsoring these families. Different groups of volunteer and church organizations have been hard at work fundraising, doing paperwork, finding housing and connecting with volunteers – it is these groups that are doing the sponsorship (private sponsorship, which means that they have committed to supporting the families for one year).

Because the families have arrived in our community (and because we are such a great group of welcoming and community-minded neighbours) we’d like to help in any way we can. The sponsor groups will let us know what they need. As we find out more about what is needed for these two families, we will let the community know via Facebook, Twitter, email and our webpage. Stay tuned for updates.

In addition to recent arrivals here in Blueridge, the North Shore United Refugee Response Team (a consortium of United Churches on the North Shore) is privately sponsoring a family of 7. The family is in a refugee camp in Iraq, awaiting health screening and interviews with the Canadian government but there are delays as the refugee camp is too close to a war zone for interviews to take place.  You can help via a direct donation of money.

From Mount Seymour United Church “We are currently accepting financial donations towards this cause. Specially marked donation envelopes are available on the Action Table in the church lobby. Cheques can be made out to Mount Seymour United Church, and 100% of your donation monies will be given to this cause. Donations over $25 will receive a tax receipt. Online donations can be made HERE be sure to select “Refugee Alliance”.

Or – if you have household items and clothing you can donate to the Thrift Shop. Items donated that are suitable for the Syrian refugee families will be set aside. Other items will be sold to raise money for the cause. Donations are gratefully accepted Monday through Wednesday and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership (NSIIP) may also have volunteer opportunities for those looking to help new immigrants on the North Shore. There is definitely a need for housing for all refugee arriving in the Lower Mainland. If you have a basement suite, apartment or house available contact us at info [at] blueridgeca [dot] org and we can put you in touch with a sponsor group.

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