The Sackville Refugee Response Coalition grew out of two public meetings held in October and November of 2015. At these meetings, a wide range of Sackville residents expressed their determination to take an active part in welcoming Syrian refugee families coming to Canada. They mandated the formation of a steering committee to coordinate fundraising, secure furnished housing, and prepare for effective integration of up to three families into the Sackville community.
In January 2019, with the original mandate complete, the SRRC reorganized in order to prepare for our two current private sponsorships as well as any additional potential upcoming sponsorships. We thus adopted a new mission statement and mandate going forward:
SRRC Mission Statement
- To sponsor refugees to come to Sackville in partnership with Sponsorship Agreement Holders and the Government of Canada, having raised sufficient funds to do so.
- To assist in the settlement, adaptation and integration of refugees brought to Sackville.
- To partner with community groups to access public education, health care and other necessary resources.
Further to the above, the Sackville Refugee Response Coalition has a mandate to execute its mission statement by doing the following:
- Partnering with other organizations for family reunification, private sponsorships and blended visa applications.
- Assisting newcomers by finding housing, connecting with medical practitioners as required, developing community relationships, and assisting with finances, job searches, and other tasks as defined by the steering committee
- Facilitating community connections and empowering newcomers to chart their own path.
- Actively seeking funding in order to support the Coalition’s work, keeping the need before the community at all times.
- Partnering with community groups to educate the general public of our mission and provide cultural awareness as well as sharing of cultural values & appreciation across cultures.
Because their national offices already hold Refugee Sponsorship Agreements with the federal government, five local churches (Sackville United, Middle Sackville Baptist, St.Andrew’s Presbyterian, the Anglican Parish of Sackville and Dorchester, and Main Street Baptist) agreed to participate as official sponsors, to receive financial donations, and to issue tax receipts to donors. Other key partners in the coalition include Mount Allison University and the Sackville Rotary Club, as well as more than 100 active individual volunteers organized into close to a dozen working groups. Notes about the working groups and opportunities to assist them will be found on the “How to Help” page.
The SRRC originally pursued refugee sponsorship through the Government of Canada’s Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) Program, which is designed to resettle refugees identified by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, whose applications are submitted through Canadian offices abroad. This is referred to as a blended program because the cost to resettle is shared between a private sponsor (such as SRRC) and the federal government (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada).
To sponsor a family of four, a private sponsor must have raised approximately $30,000 to help cover the cost of housing, utilities, food, clothing, furnishings and other household essentials for the first year. During that settlement period, Citizen and Immigration Canada also provides some funding to sponsored families.
Donations made to the SRRC are received and held in trust by the coalition’s five participating churches (Sackville United, Middle Sackville Baptist, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Anglican Parish of Sackville and Dorchester, and Main Street Baptist).
Several mechanisms are in place to ensure management of your generous donations to the SRRC so as to maximize the probability that sponsored families will become self-sufficient following the resettlement period. These include two working groups:
The Financial Management Committee will define procedures around expenditures and accessing funds held by the churches, and will keep records of revenues and expenses.
The Budgeting Committee will familiarize sponsored families with the cost of living in Sackville and help them with opening bank accounts and managing their household budget as needed.
All donated funds are managed and will be audited according to standards and practices mandated by Canada Revenue Agency for registered charitable organizations.