“The generosity of this community is quite overwhelming,” said Rev. John Perkin, chair of the Sackville Refugee Response Coalition (SRRC). “Donations and pledges now total more than $100,000. This will permit us to welcome not just one, but three Syrian families to Sackville in the coming weeks.”
Fundraising chair Merrill Fullerton agreed. “Further donations will still be gratefully received and put to good use,” he added. “However, we’ve hit our target and have no plans for further financial appeals at this time.”
Instead, the attention of SRRC now turns to the equally important task of preparing to receive newcomers. Applications to sponsor three refugee families have been initiated and if all goes smoothly, the first of these could arrive by late January or early February.
Marking the shift from fundraising to preparation for new arrivals, SRRC this week announced the launch of a new web site. The on-line information service will be found at www.srrc.ca, starting on Tuesday, January 12th. It will feature news updates about the project and an explanation of the screening and sponsorship processes through which the families are being chosen.
In addition, the site will provide updates for volunteers. To date, close to a dozen working groups are attending to needs such as housing, furniture, and other household items. The web site will signal what is still needed in order to set up well-equipped homes.
Another task will be the gathering of suitable clothing for people who may be arriving with little more than what they are wearing. Once the makeup of each family (number and gender of adults and children) is known, the clothing committee will he able to specify on-line those items of new or gently used and cleaned wearing apparel that are most needed.
There will also be a need for volunteers to help our new community members adapt to life in Sackville. An education and language training committee is already being set up. So is a budgeting committee that will help with guidance in matters such as banking, shopping, and money management in a Canadian context.
People wishing to offer their time and talents in these and other areas are invited to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating their areas of interest. A coordinator of volunteers will receive these messages and attempt to match such offers with the most needful situations.
“The arrival of the first famiily is likely only weeks away,” said John Perkin. If the people of Sackville respond as generously in this phase of the project as they did with their financial support we anticipate a very warm reception for our new neighbours.”