Back when we started this refugee sponsorship process, I had hoped so much that the family would be here in time for Christmas. Unfortunately those hopes have been dashed, and we know for certain that the family won’t be here before the end of 2015.
The good news, though, is that the family have passed their interview. We’ve learned that they have a new baby, born this past October, so now there will be 12 children (spanning 2 months to 18 years) coming with their 2 parents. Now we’re just waiting for the results of the security screenings and physical examinations.
The house is nearly ready for them. Mariam and her husband have been working very hard to organize the renovations and manage all the furniture donations we’ve received. Thank you to the many, many people who stepped forward to offer items for the home. We’ve been offered far more than we actually need, and urge people to consider donating to other refugee sponsorship groups in the region that may not have been so lucky with donations.
If you have clothing, shoes, or boots to donate, please take them to the Pass It On Café, run by the Missionary Church on Green Street in Port Elgin, open Sun-Thurs, 9-12. The Pass It On Café is a thrift store of sorts where everything is free. The staff have kindly offered to collect and sort donations on our behalf, and the family will go there to select clothing once they arrive. It also makes any extra donations available to the public and other families in need.
I’ve received several requests from people wanting to get involved with volunteering. At this point, we’re not able to accommodate everyone’s desire to be part of the process. Under Canadian law, the family members are considered ‘vulnerable people,’ which means that anyone who has contact with them initially must have background checks conducted by a third-party organization.
I’ve also been advised by Mennonite Central Committee to limit the number of people interacting with the family for the first while, in order to build better, more trusting relationships. I’m sorry to disappoint any prospective volunteers, but please remember that we plan to bring a second family and will need help for that. Do let us know, however, if you have a highly specialized skill that you think could be of service.
You can help by helping us fundraise!!! There have been some wonderful donations made by groups in the community who have organized their own fundraisers on our behalf. That’s a great way to stay involved and help the process along – because, without the money, it’s impossible to do anything. So far we have enough money for a second family later in 2016, but would love to bring a third one, too.
If you feel so inclined, please make a donation online and urge your family and friends to do so, as well: https://donate.mcccanada.ca/registry/saugeen-shores-refugee-fund
Merry Christmas to all!