Support a Family, Build a Community.
As many of you are aware, more than four million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes after nearly five years of brutal civil war. Most who fled are now living in appalling conditions in Syria’s neighbouring countries; half are children who’ve been traumatized by war. Huge numbers of desperate men, women and children are risking their lives along perilous migration routes to reach Europe.
Ottawa has pledged to bring in 25,000 Syrians to Canada over the next few months. The government expects private sponsors to shoulder a large part of the costs of resettling these refugees. This is a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity for regular Canadians to play an active role in responding to the crisis.
Bloorcourt Sponsors, a group of more than 20 neighbours and one-time strangers came together in September 2015 to respond and bring one of these Syrian refugee families to Toronto. We began our fundraising efforts in October and set an audacious $50,000 year-end goal, with $10,000 of that going to cover a travel loan the family will owe to the Canadian Government. With the huge outpouring of support by our fellow Canadians we have been able to surpass our goal one month early and raise over $58,000! A HUGE thank you goes out to all of you who contributed and helped make this happen. Whether you donated, baked a carrot cake, put out a collection jar at your workplace, shared or tweeted our 30day-$30K Campaign posts to spread the word, we thank you for your big heart and generous spirit. This achievement has reminded us that if everyone does a little, together we can accomplish a whole lot.
As some of you have heard, we have been matched with a family of 3! A mother, father and a young daughter. They are a “Named Case” meaning that they have a Canadian contact (a friend in Toronto) who has put their case forward for review. They have been approved by Lifeline Syria, we have submitted our application and now the family must undergo the required medical and security screenings. While we are waiting for the final approval by the Canadian Government we will keep busy getting ready to welcome the family, find them housing, and prepare to support them as they get familiar with Toronto and Canadian culture, visit the dentist and doctor, improve on English language skills, start school, find employment and become inspiring and involved members of our community. They are an inspiration of determination and resilience and we are truly honoured to welcome this inspiring family to Canada, and we know you will be too.
After learning more about the family and their specific needs we are continuing our fundraising efforts to cover additional expenses that were not originally budgeted for. We are preparing to welcome them as early as February, or sooner! Please help us by making a donation via PayPal directly to our Bloorcourt Sponsors account so that we can be ready for the family’s immediate and additional needs when they arrive.
We recently found out the Canadian government has exempted Syrian refugees from the travel loan. The extra $10,000 we originally allocated towards the loan will go to supporting the family for up to one year and to cover their additional expenses. If we have any funds left over we will decide on how to best use it to help another family. We want you to know every dollar you contribute is going directly to resettle and support Syrian refugees.
We are also still in need of in-kind donations. Please visit our So-Kind registry to see if you have something to contribute.
Please stay tuned to hear about new developments and how you can continue to support Bloorcourt Sponsors as we enter the next phase of the sponsorship process and prepare for the family’s arrival.
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With this blog we aim to share our experiences of sponsoring a refugee family in Canada and hope to inspire others to do the same. Many of the private sponsorship groups are regular people just like you and I who have never done anything like this so we realize how much there is to learn and the amount of work to be done. If you are starting up a sponsorship group and need some advice please contact us. We are happy to share what we have learned on our journey so far.
ABOUT US: Why we are doing this.
Read our personal stories of what moved us to join this initiative here.
Bloorcourt Sponsors are partnering with the University of Toronto and the Ryerson Lifeline Syria Challenge. Donations can be made to Ryerson here and you will receive a charitable tax receipt. In the drop down menu for gift designations go down to the U of T teams and select Bloorcourt Sponsors. Any donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable tax receipt.