The beginning of our journey. Hopefully the end of theirs.

To leave or to stay? Many Syrian and Iraqi families face that question as the conflict continues to rage around them. International humanitarian assistance is dwindling and the patchwork of resources they used to rely on is wearing thin. To leave is to risk their lives over dangerous seas and through countries hesitant to open their doors. But to stay is also a great risk.
Syrian internally displaced people walk in the Atme camp, along the Turkish border in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, on March 19, 2013. The conflict in Syria between rebel forces and pro-government troops has killed at least 70,000 people, and forced more than one million Syrians to seek refuge abroad. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC        (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
As millions of families flee their homes and lives looking for safety and hope, we are choosing to take action and help. We are a group of friends and neighbours who want to open our doors and hearts to sponsor a Syrian family to come into our community of Guelph, Ontario. We believe we can and should do our part to help in this humanitarian crisis.

This is a 12 month commitment to support the family financially and emotionally. It is a commitment to be there every step of the way offering our friendship and support as they establish a new life in Canada.

How can we do this? Under Canada’s Private Refugee Sponsorship Program, citizens can join together to sponsor refugee families under a Sponsorship Agreement Holder.

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MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) has been working as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder since 1979 to sponsor refugee families who have no prospect of returning home to start a new life in Canada. While we are in no way affiliated with MCC, we can work with them in order to streamline our paperwork and fast track our ability to sponsor a family. Ultimately, this is our top priority.

Through their website we have a fund-raising page where donations can be made directly to our cause with tax receipts issued for each donation. Every dollar that is raised will go directly to the supporting of our sponsored family. There is no overhead or administrative fee.

Will you partner with us, partner with them?

Our goal is to raise $40,000 to help this family in their first year.  Click here to Donate $

They will also need stuff, like warm clothes and furniture.  Click here to donate stuff

They will also need our time, energy and expertise after they arrive!  Click here if you can give your time/energy/expertise

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A Commitment to Action

Raising money is relatively easy.  Helping a family integrate into life in Canada is where a commitment to compassion is essential.  If our group successfully raises money but doesn’t support this family after they arrived, then we haven’t done our job.

We are looking for individuals who are interested in helping with the process.  This family will need emotional support, financial support, and regular old practical support.  Rides to appointments, computer lessons, financial know-how, navigating the supermarket, guelph bus routes, school system, jobs and community groups…etc. They need your help.

It takes a village.  Want to be a part of this village?  If you have something specific you know you can help with (such as “I have a van!”  or “I speak Arabic”) please email gmariewoods@gmail.com to get the ball rolling.

If you are not sure how you can help, but want to do something, please go to this link and fill it out.  There will soon be many, many Syrian families living in Guelph, and it will take a collective effort to make the transition smooth for all of them.  Our group has quite a bit of help as it is, and the other families will also need your help.

Thank You for your willingness to help.

Refugees Need Stuff!

Canada will be quite the change for this family.  They are going to need everything to start their life here.  Clothes, furniture, small appliances, toys for kids, books….and more we can’t think of at the moment.

Have something? Donations (clothing and household items) are being collected by the Salvation Army at their Family Services Location at 210 Victoria Rd. Tues-Fri 9am-4pm.